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Title: The Book of Fables and Folk Stories
Author: Scudder, Horace Elisha
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Book of Fables and Folk Stories" ***

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THE BOOK OF FABLES AND FOLK STORIES

By Horace E. Scudder

New Illustrated Edition

Boston And New York Houghton Mifflin Company

1882 To 1919


[Illustration: 0001]

[Illustration: 0006]



PUBLISHERS’ NOTE

For more than a generation Mr. Scudder’s _Book of Fables and Folk
Stories_ has been a prime favorite with young readers. It has seemed to
the publishers that a book which has maintained its popularity so long
might well be furnished with illustrations more in accordance with the
taste of the present day than those which were originally used. All the
old pictures have therefore been replaced by drawings made by a modern
artist, and it is hoped that readers of the volume will find its old
charm heightened by this new feature.

4 Park St., Boston October, 1919



THE BOOK OF FABLES AND FOLK STORIES



LITTLE RED-RIDING-HOOD

[Illustration: 9015]

|Once upon a time there lived in a certain village a little girl. Her
mother was very fond of her, and her grandmother loved her even more.
This good old woman made for her a red cloak, which suited the child so
well that ever after she was called Little Red-Riding-Hood. One day her
mother made some cakes, and said to Little Red-Riding-Hood:--

“Go, my dear, and see how grandmother does, for I hear that she has been
very ill. Carry her a cake and a little pot of butter.”

Little Red-Riding-Hood set out at once to go to her grandmother, who
lived in another village. As she was going through the wood she met a
large Wolf. He had a very great mind to eat her up; but he dared not,
for there were some wood-choppers near by. So he asked her:--

“Where are you going, little girl?” The poor child did not know that it
was dangerous to stop and talk with the Wolf, and she said:--

“I am going to see my grandmother, and carry her a cake and a little pot
of butter from my mother.”

“Does she live far off?” asked the Wolf.

“Oh, yes. It is beyond that mill, at the first house in the village.”

“Well,” said the Wolf, “I will go and see her, too. I will go this way;
do you go that, and we will see who will be there soonest.”

At this the Wolf began to run as fast as he could, taking the nearest
way, and Little Red-Riding-Hood went by the farthest. She stopped often
to chase a butterfly, or pluck a flower, and so she was a good while on
the way. The Wolf was soon at the old woman’s house, and knocked at the
door--tap, tap!

“Who is there?”

“Your grandchild, Little Red-Riding-Hood,” replied the Wolf, changing
his voice. “I have brought you a cake and a pot of butter from mother.”
 The good grandmother, who was ill in bed, called out:--

“Pull the string, and the latch will go up.” The Wolf pulled the string,
and the latch went up. The door opened, and he jumped in, and fell
upon the old woman, and ate her up in less than no time, for he had
not tasted food for three days. He then shut the door, and got into the
grandmother’s bed. By and by, Little Red-Riding-Hood came and knocked at
the door--tap, tap!

“Who is there?”

Little Red-Riding-Hood heard the big voice of the Wolf, and at first she
was afraid. Then she thought her grandmother must have a bad cold, so
she answered:--

“Little Red-Riding-Hood. I have brought you a cake and a pot of butter
from mother.” The Wolf softened his voice as much as he could, and
called out:--

“Pull the string, and the latch will go up.” Little Red-Riding-Hood
pulled the string, and the latch went up, and the door opened. The Wolf
was hiding under the bedclothes and called out in a muffled voice:--

“Put the cake and the pot of butter on the shelf, and come to bed.”

Little Red-Riding-Hood made ready for bed. Then she looked with
wonder at her grandmother, who had changed so much, and she
said:--“Grandmother, what great arms you have!”

“The better to hug you, my dear.”

“Grandmother, what great ears you have!”

“The better to hear you, my dear.”

“Grandmother, what great eyes you have!”

“The better to see you, my dear.”

“Grandmother, what great teeth you have!”

“The better to eat you.”

And at this the wicked Wolf sprang up and fell upon poor Little
Red-Riding-Hood and ate her all up.



THE GOOSE THAT LAID GOLDEN EGGS

|There was a man who once had a Goose that always laid golden eggs, one
every day in the year.

Now, he thought there must be gold inside of her. So he wrung her neck
and laid her open.

He found that she was exactly like all other geese. He thought to find
riches, and lost the little he had.

This fable teaches that one should be content with what one has, and not
be greedy.

[Illustration: 0019]



THE DOG IN THE MANGER

|A Dog once made his bed in a manger. He could not eat the grain there,
and he would not let the Ox eat it, who could.



THE FOX AND THE GRAPES

|A hungry Fox found some bunches of grapes upon a vine high up a tree.
He tried to get at them, but could not. So he left them hanging there
and went off, saying to himself:--

“They are sour grapes.”

[Illustration: 0020]

That is what people sometimes do when they cannot get what they
want--they make believe that what they want is good for nothing.



LITTLE ONE EYE, LITTLE TWO EYES, AND LITTLE THREE EYES


I. THE GOAT

|There was once a woman who had three daughters. The eldest was called
Little One Eye, because she had only one eye in the middle of her
forehead. The second was called Little Two Eyes, because she had two
eyes like other people. The youngest was called Little Three Eyes,
because she had three eyes; the third eye was in the middle of her
forehead.

Because Little Two Eyes looked like other people, her sisters and her
mother could not bear her. They said:--

“You have two eyes and are no better than anybody else. You do not
belong to us.” They knocked her about, and gave her shabby clothes, and
fed her with food left over from their meals.

One day Little Two Eyes was sent into the fields to look after the goat.
She was hungry, because her sisters had given her so little to eat, and
she sat down and began to cry. She cried so hard that a little stream of
tears ran out of each eye. All at once a wise woman stood near her, and
asked:--

“Little Two Eyes, why do you cry?” Little Two Eyes said:--

“Have I not need to cry? Because I have two eyes, like other people, my
sisters and my mother cannot bear me. They knock me about and they give
me shabby clothes. They feed me only with the food left over from their
table. To-day they have given me so little that I am very hungry.”

The wise woman said:--

“Little Two Eyes, dry your eyes, and I will tell you what to do. Only
say to your goat: ‘Little goat, bleat; little table, rise,’ and a table
will stand before you, covered with food. Eat as much as you like. When
you have had all you want, only say: ‘Little goat, bleat; little table,
away,’ and it will be gone.” Then the wise woman disappeared. Little Two
Eyes thought: “I must try at once, for I am too hungry to wait.” So she
said:--

“Little goat, bleat; little table, rise,” and there stood before her a
little table covered with a white cloth. On it were laid a plate, knife
and fork, and silver spoon. The nicest food was on the plate, smoking
hot. Then Little Two Eyes began to eat, and found the food very good.
When she had had enough, she said:--

“Little goat, bleat; little table, away.” In an instant the table was
gone.

“That is a fine way to keep house,” thought Little Two Eyes.

At the end of the day Little Two Eyes drove her goat home. She found a
dish with some food in it. Her sisters had put it aside for her, but she
did not taste it. She did not need it.

The next day she went out again with her goat, and did not take the few
crusts which her sisters put aside for her. This went on for several
days. At last her sisters said to each other:--

“All is not right with Little Two Eyes. She always leaves her food. She
used to eat all that was given her. She must have found some other way
to be fed.”

They meant to find out what Little Two Eyes did. So the next time that
Little Two Eyes set out, Little One Eye came to her and said:--

“I will go with you into the field, and see that the goat is well taken
care of, and feeds in the best pasture.” But Little Two Eyes saw what
Little One Eye had in her mind. So she drove the goat into the long
grass, and said:--

“Come, Little One Eye, we will sit down and I will sing to you.” Little
One Eye sat down. She was tired after her long walk in the hot sun, and
Little Two Eyes began to sing:--

“Are you awake, Little One Eye? Are you asleep, Little One Eye? Are you
awake, Little One Eye? Are you asleep, Little One Eye? Are you awake?
Are you asleep? Awake? Asleep?” By this time Little One Eye had shut her
one eye and was fast asleep. When Little Two Eyes saw this, she said
softly:--

“Little goat, bleat; little table, rise;” and she sat at the table and
ate and drank till she had had enough. Then she said as before:--

“Little goat, bleat; little table, away,” and in a twinkling all was
gone.

Little Two Eyes now awoke Little One Eye, and said:--

“Little One Eye, why do you not watch? You have been asleep, and the
goat could have run all over the world. Come! let us go home.” So home
they went, and Little Two Eyes again did not touch the dish. The others
asked Little One Eye what Little Two Eyes did in the field. But she
could only say:--

“Oh, I fell asleep out there.”


II. THE TREE

The next day, the mother said to Little Three Eyes:--

“This time _you_ must go with Little Two Eyes, and see if any one brings
her food and drink.” Then Little Three Eyes said to Little Two Eyes:

“I will go with you into the field, and see that the goat is well taken
care of, and feeds in the best pasture.” But Little Two Eyes saw what
Little Three Eyes had in her mind. So she drove the goat into the long
grass, and said:--“Come, Little Three Eyes, we will sit down, and I will
sing to you.” Little Three Eyes sat down. She was tired after her long
walk in the hot sun, and Little Two Eyes began to sing, as before:--

“Are you awake, Little Three Eyes?” but instead of going on,--

“Are you asleep, Little Three Eyes?” she did not think, and sang:--

“Are you asleep, Little Two Eyes?” and went on:--

“Are you awake, Little Three Eyes? Are you asleep, Little Two Eyes? Are
you awake? Are you asleep? Awake? Asleep?” By this time the two eyes of
Little Three Eyes fell asleep. But the third eye did not go to sleep,
for it was not spoken to by the verse. Little Three Eyes, to be sure,
shut it, and made believe that it went to sleep. Then she opened it a
little way and watched Little Two Eyes.

When Little Two Eyes thought Little Three Eyes was fast asleep, she said
softly:--

“Little goat, bleat; little table, rise;” and she sat at the table and
ate and drank till she had had enough. Then she said as before:--

“Little goat, bleat; little table, away.” But Little Three Eyes had seen
everything. Little Two Eyes now woke Little Three Eyes, and said:--

“Little Three Eyes, why do you not watch? You have been asleep, and the
goat could have run all over the world. Come! let us go home.”

So home they went, and Little Two Eyes again did not touch the dish.
Then Little Three Eyes said to the mother:--

“I know why the proud thing does not eat. She says to the goat: ‘Little
goat, bleat; little table, rise,’ and there stands a table before her.
It is covered with the very best of things to eat, much better than
anything we have. When she has had enough to eat, she says: ‘Little
goat, bleat; little table, away,’ and all is gone. I have seen it just
as it is. She put two of my eyes to sleep, but the one in my forehead
stayed awake.” Then the mother cried out:--

“Shall she be better off than we are?” With that she took a knife and
killed the goat. Poor Little Two Eyes went to the field, and sat
down and began to cry. All at once the wise woman stood near her, and
asked:--

“Little Two Eyes, why do you cry?” Little Two Eyes said:--

“Have I not need to cry? My mother has killed the goat. Now I must
suffer hunger and thirst again.” The wise woman said:--

“Little Two Eyes, dry your eyes, and I will tell you what to do. Beg
your sisters to give you the heart of the goat. Then bury it in the
ground before the door of the house. All will go well with you.” Then
the wise woman was gone, and Little Two Eyes went home and said to her
sisters:--

“Sisters, give me some part of my goat. I do not ask for anything but
the heart.” They laughed, and said:--

“You can have that, if you do not want anything else.”

Little Two Eyes took the heart and buried it in the ground before the
door of the house.

Next morning the sisters woke and saw a splendid tree in front of the
house. It had leaves of silver and fruit of gold. It was wonderful to
behold; and they could not think how the tree had come there in the
night. Only Little Two Eyes knew that the tree had grown out of the
heart of the goat. Then the mother said to Little One Eye:--

“Climb up, my child, and pluck some fruit from the tree.” Little One Eye
climbed the tree. She put out her hand to take a golden apple, but
the branch sprang back. This took place every time. Try as hard as she
could, she could not get a single apple. Then the mother said:--

“Little Three Eyes, you climb up. You can see better with your three
eyes than Little One Eye can.” Down came Little One Eye, and Little
Three Eyes climbed the tree. She put out her hand, and the branch sprang
back as it had from Little One Eye. At last the mother tried, but it
was the same with her. She could not get a single apple. Then Little Two
Eyes said:--

“Let me try.”

“You!” they all cried. “You, with your two eyes like other people! What
can you do?” But Little Two Eyes climbed the tree, and the branch did
not spring back. The golden apples dropped into her hands, and she
brought down her apron full of them. Her mother took them away from her,
and her two sisters were angry because they had failed, and they were
more cruel than ever to Little Two Eyes.


III. THE PRINCE

While they stood by the tree, the Prince came riding near on a fine
horse.

“Quick, Little Two Eyes,” said her sisters, “creep under this cask; we
are ashamed of you.” And they threw an empty cask over her, and pushed
the golden apples under it.

The Prince rode up and gazed at the splendid tree. “Is this splendid
tree yours?” he asked of the sisters. “If you will give me a branch from
it, I will give you anything you wish.” Then Little One Eye and Little
Three Eyes said the tree was theirs, and they would break off a branch
for him. They put out their hands, but again the branches sprang back.
Then the Prince said:--

“This is very strange. The tree is yours, and yet you cannot pluck the
fruit.”

They kept on saying that the tree was theirs, but while they were saying
this, Little Two Eyes rolled a few of the apples out from under the
cask. The Prince saw them, and asked:--

“Why! where did these golden apples come from? Who is under the cask?”
 Little One Eye and Little Three Eyes told the Prince that they had a
sister.

“But she does not show herself,” they said. “She is just like other
people. She has two eyes.” Then the Prince called:--

“Little Two Eyes! come out!” So Little Two Eyes was very glad and crept
out from under the cask.

“Can you get me a branch from the tree?”

“Yes,” said Little Two Eyes, “I can, for the tree is mine.” Then she
climbed the tree and broke off a branch. It had silver leaves and golden
fruit, and she gave it to the Prince. Then the Prince said:--

“Little Two Eyes, what shall I give you for it?”

“Oh,” said Little Two Eyes, “I suffer hunger and thirst all day long. If
you would take me with you, I should be happy.”

So the Prince lifted Little Two Eyes upon his horse, and they rode away.
He took her to his father’s house and made her Princess, and she had
plenty to eat and drink and good clothes to wear. Best of all, the
Prince loved her, and she had no more hard knocks and cross words.

Now, when Little Two Eyes rode away with the Prince, the sisters said:--

“Well, we shall have the tree. We may not pluck the fruit, but every one
will stop to see it and come to us and praise it.” But the next morning
when they went to look at the tree, it was gone.

Little Two Eyes lived long and happily. One day, two poor women came
to her, and asked for something to eat. Little Two Eyes looked at their
faces and knew them. They were Little One Eye and Little Three Eyes.
They were so poor that they were begging bread from door to door. Little
Two Eyes brought them into the house and was very good to them. Then
they both were sorry for the evil they had once done their sister.



THE WIND AND THE SUN

The Wind and the Sun had a dispute as to which of the two was the
stronger. They agreed that the one should be called stronger who should
first make a man in the road take off his cloak.

The Wind began to blow great guns, but the man only drew his cloak
closer about him to keep out the cold. At last the gust was over.

Then the Sun took his turn. He shone and it was warm and bright. The man
opened his cloak, threw it back, and at last took it off, and lay down
in the shade where it was cool.

So the Sun carried his point against the Wind.

This fable teaches that gentleness often succeeds better than force.



THE CROW AND THE PITCHER

[Illustration: 0032]

|A Crow who was very thirsty found a Pitcher with a little water in it.
But the water lay so low that she could not come at it.

She tried first to break the Pitcher, and then to overturn it, but it
was too strong and too heavy for her. At last she thought of a way.

She dropped a great many little pebbles into the Pitcher, until she had
raised the water so that she could reach it.



THE BOYS AND THE FROGS

|A company of Boys were watching some Frogs by the side of a pond, and
as fast as any of the Frogs lifted their heads the Boys would pelt them
down again with stones.

“Boys,” said one of the Frogs, “you forget that, though this may be fun
for you, it is death to us.”



A COUNTRY FELLOW AND THE RIVER

|A stupid Boy was sent to market by his Mother to sell butter and
cheese. He made a stop by the way at a swift river, and laid himself
down on the bank to watch until it should run out.

About midnight, home he went to his Mother, with all his market goods
back again.

“Why, how now, my Son?” said she. “What have we here?”

“Why, Mother, yonder is a river that has been running all this day,
and I stayed till just now, waiting for it to run out; and there it is,
running still.”

“My Son,” said the good woman, “thy head and mine will be laid in the
grave many a day before this river has all run by. You will never sell
your butter and cheese if you wait for that.”



PUSS IN BOOTS


I. PUSS GOES A-HUNTING

|There was once an old miller, and when he died he left nothing to his
three sons except his mill, an ass, and a cat. The eldest son took the
mill, the second son took the ass, and so the cat fell to the youngest.
This poor fellow looked very sober, and said:--

“What am I to do? My brothers can take care of themselves with a mill
and an ass. But I can only eat the cat and sell his skin. Then what will
be left? I shall die of hunger.” The cat heard these words and looked up
at his master.

“Do not be troubled,” he said. “Give me a bag and get me a pair of
boots, and I will soon show you what I can do.”

The young man did not see what the cat could do, but he knew he could do
many strange things. He had seen him hang stiff by his hind legs as if
he were dead. He had seen him hide himself in the meal tub. Oh, the cat
was a wise one! Besides, what else was there for the young man to do?

So he got a bag and a pair of boots for the cat. Puss drew on the boots
and hung the bag about his neck. Then he took hold of the two strings of
the bag with his fore paws and set off for a place where there were some
rabbits.

He filled his bag with bran and left the mouth of the bag open. Then
he lay down, shut his eyes, and seemed to be sound asleep. Soon a young
rabbit smelled the bran and saw the open bag. He went headlong into it,
and at once the cat drew the strings and caught the rabbit.

Puss now went to the palace, and asked to speak to the king. So he was
brought before the king. He made a low bow and said:--

“Sire, this is a rabbit which my master bade me bring to you.”

“And who is your master?”

“He is the Marquis of Carabas,” said the cat. This was a title which
Puss took it into his head to give to his master.

“Tell your master that I accept his gift,” said the king, and Puss
went off in his boots. In a few days he hid himself with his bag in a
cornfield. This time he caught two partridges, and carried them to the
king. The king sent his thanks to the Marquis of Carabas, and made a
present to Puss.

So things went on for some time. Every week Puss brought some game to
the king, and the king began to think the Marquis of Carabas a famous
hunter. Now it chanced that the king and his daughter were about to take
a drive along the banks of a river. Puss heard of it and went to his
master.

“Master,” said he, “do just as I tell you, and your fortune will be
made. You need only go and bathe in the river, and leave the rest to
me.”

“Very well,” said his master. He did as the cat told him, but he did
not know what it all meant. While he was in the river, the king and the
princess drove by. Puss jumped out of the bushes and began to bawl:--

“Help! help! the Marquis of Carabas is drowning! save him!” The king
heard and looked out of his carriage. There he saw the cat that had
brought him so much game, and he bade his men run to help the Marquis.
When he was out of the river, Puss came forward, and told what had
happened.

[Illustration: 0037]

“My master was bathing, and some robbers came and stole his clothes.
I ran after them and cried, ‘Stop, thief!’ but they got away. Then my
master was carried beyond his depth, and would have drowned, if you had
not come by with your men.”

At this the king bade one of his servants ride back and bring a fine
suit of clothes for the Marquis, and they all waited. So, at last, the
Marquis of Carabas came up to the carriage, dressed much more finely
than he ever had been in his life. He was a handsome fellow, and he
looked so well that the king at once bade him enter the carriage.


II. PUSS AND THE LION

Puss now had things quite to his mind. He ran on before, and came to a
meadow, where some men were mowing grass. He stopped before them, and
said:--

“The king is coming this way. You must tell him that this field belongs
to the Marquis of Carabas, or you shall all be chopped as fine as
mince-meat.”

“When the carriage came by, the king put his head out, and said to the
men:--

“This is good grass land. Who owns it?”

“The Marquis of Carabas,” they all said, for Puss had thrown them into a
great fright.

“You have a fine estate, Marquis,” said the king.

“Yes, Sire,” he replied, tossing his head; “it pays me well.” Puss still
ran before the carriage, and came soon to some reapers.

“Tell the king,” he cried, “that all this grain belongs to the Marquis
of Carabas, or you shall all be chopped as fine as mince-meat.” The
king now came by, and asked the reapers who owned the grain they were
cutting.

[Illustration: 0039]

“The Marquis of Carabas,” they said. So it Went on. Puss bade the men in
the fields call the Marquis of Carabas their lord, or it would go hard
with them. The king was amazed. The Marquis took it all with a grand
air. It was easy to see that he was a very rich and great man. The
princess sat in the corner of the carriage, and thought the Marquis no
mean fellow.

At last they drew near the castle of the one who really owned all the
fields they had passed through. Puss asked about him, and found he was a
monster who made every one about him very much afraid. Puss sent in word
that he should like to pay his respects, and the monster bade him come
in.

“I have been told,” said Puss, “that you can change yourself into any
kind of animal. They say you can even make yourself a lion.”

“To be sure I can,” said the monster. “Do you not believe it? Look, and
you shall see me become a lion at once.” When Puss saw a lion before
him he was in a great fright, and got as far away as he could. There he
stayed till the lion became a monster again.

“That was dreadful!” said Puss. “I was nearly dead with fear. But it
must be much harder to make yourself small. They do say that you can
turn into a mouse, but I do not believe it.”

“Not believe it!” cried the monster. “You shall see!” So he made himself
at once into a mouse, and began running over the floor. In a twinkling
Puss pounced upon him and gave him one shake. That was the end of the
monster.

By this time the king had reached the gates of the castle, and thought
he would like to see so fine a place. Puss heard the wheels, and ran
down just as the king drove up to the door.

“Welcome!” he said, as he stood on the steps of the castle. “Welcome to
the castle of the Marquis of Carabas!”

“What! my lord Marquis,” said the king, “does this castle, too, belong
to you? I never saw anything so fine. I should really like to enter.”

“Your majesty is welcome!” said the young man, bowing low, taking off
the cap which the king had given him. Then he gave his hand to the
princess, and they went up the steps. Puss danced before them in his
boots.

They came into a great hall, and there they found a feast spread. The
monster had asked some friends to dine with him that day, but the news
went about that the king was at the castle, and so they dared not go.

The king was amazed at all he saw, and the princess went behind him,
just as much pleased. The Marquis of Carabas said little. He held his
head high and played with his sword.

When dinner was over, the king took the Marquis one side, and said:--

“You have only to say the word, my lord Marquis, and you shall be the
son-in-law of your king.”

So the Marquis married the princess, and Puss in Boots became a great
lord, and hunted mice for mere sport, just when he pleased.



THE FARMER’S SONS

|A farmer’s Sons once fell out. The Farmer tried to make peace between
them, but he could not. Then he bade them bring him some sticks. These
he tied together into a bundle, and gave the bundle to each of his Sons
in turn, and told him to break it. Each Son tried, but could not.

Then he untied the bundle and gave them each one stick to break. This
they did easily, and he said: “So is it with you, my Sons. If you
are all of the same mind, your enemies can do you no harm. But if you
quarrel, they will easily get the better of you.”



THE LION AND THE BEAR

|A Lion and a Bear chanced to fall upon a Fawn at the same time, and
they began to fight for it. They fought so fiercely that at last they
fell down, entirely worn out and almost dead.

A Fox, passing that way, saw them stretched out, and the Fawn dead
between them. He stole in slyly, seized the Fawn, and ran away with it
for his own dinner. When they saw this, they could not stir, but they
cried out:--

“How foolish we were to take all this trouble for the Fox!”



THE LION AND THE MOUSE

[Illustration: 0043]

|As a Lion lay asleep, a Mouse ran into his mouth. The Lion shut his
teeth together and would have eaten him up, but the Mouse begged hard to
be let out, saying:--

“If you will let me go, I will repay you some day.”

The Lion smiled, but let the Mouse out. Not long after, the Mouse had a
chance to repay him. The Lion was caught by some hunters, and bound with
ropes to a tree. The Mouse heard him roar and groan, and ran and gnawed
the ropes, so that the Lion got free.

Then the Mouse said:--

“You laughed at me once, Lion, as if you could get nothing in return for
your kindness to me. But now it is you who owe your life to me.”



THE ELVES AND THE SHOEMAKER

|There was once a Shoemaker who worked very hard and was honest. Still,
he could not earn enough to live on. At last, all he had in the world
was gone except just leather enough to make one pair of shoes. He cut
these out at night, and meant to rise early the next morning to make
them up.

His heart was light in spite of his troubles, for his conscience was
clear. So he went quietly to bed, left all his cares to God, and fell
asleep. In the morning he said his prayers and sat down to work, when,
to his great wonder, there stood the shoes, already made, upon the
table.

The good man knew not what to say or think. He looked at the work. There
was not one false stitch in the whole job. All was neat and true.

That same day a customer came in, and the shoes pleased him so well that
he readily paid a price higher than usual for them. The Shoemaker took
the money and bought leather enough to make two pairs more. He cut out
the work in the evening and went to bed early. He wished to be up with
the sun and get to work.

He was saved all trouble, for when he got up in the morning, the work
was done. Pretty soon buyers came in, who paid him well for his goods.
So he bought leather enough for four pairs more.

He cut out the work again over night, and found it finished in the
morning as before. So it went on for some time. What was got ready at
night was always done by daybreak, and the good man soon was well to do.

One evening, at Christmas time, he and his wife sat over the fire,
chatting, and he said:--

“I should like to sit up and watch to-night, that we may see who it is
that comes and does my work for me.” So they left the light burning, and
hid themselves behind a curtain to see what would happen.

As soon as it was midnight, there came two little Elves. They sat upon
the Shoemaker’s bench, took up all the work that was cut out, and began
to ply their little fingers. They stitched and rapped and tapped at such
a rate that the Shoemaker was amazed, and could not take his eyes off
them for a moment.

On they went till the job was done, and the shoes stood, ready for use,
upon the table. This was long before daybreak. Then they ran away as
quick as lightning. The next day the wife said to the Shoemaker:--

“These little Elves have made us rich, and we ought to be thankful to
them and do them some good in return. I am vexed to see them run about
as they do. They have nothing upon their backs to keep off the cold.
I’ll tell you what we must do; I will make each of them a shirt, and a
coat and waistcoat, and a pair of pantaloons into the bargain. Do you
make each of them a little pair of shoes.”

The good Shoemaker liked the thought very well. One evening, he and his
wife had the clothes ready, and laid them on the table instead of the
work they used to cut out. Then they went and hid behind the curtain to
watch what the little Elves would do.

At midnight the Elves came in and were going to sit down at their work
as usual. But when they saw the clothes lying there for them, they
laughed and were in high glee.

[Illustration: 0047]

They dressed themselves in the twinkling of an eye, and danced and
capered and sprang about as merry as could be, till at last they danced
out of the door, and over the green.

The Shoemaker saw them no more, but everything went well with him as
long as he lived.

[Illustration: 0006]



THE STAG AND THE LION

|A thirsty Stag came to a spring to drink. As he drank, he looked into
the water and saw himself. He was very proud of his horns, when he saw
how big they were and what branches they had. But he looked at his feet,
and took it hard that they should be so thin and weak.

Now, while he was thinking about these things, a Lion sprang out and
began to chase him. The Stag turned and ran. As he was very fleet, he
outran the Lion so long as they were on the open plain. But when they
came to a piece of woods, the Stag’s horns became caught in the branches
of the trees. He could not run, and the Lion caught up with him.

As the Lion fell upon him with his claws, the Stag cried oat:--

“What a wretch am I! I was made safe by the very parts I scorned, and
have come to my end by the parts I gloried in!”



THE STAR-GAZER

|A certain wise man was wont to go out every evening and gaze at the
stars. Once his walk took him outside of the town, and as he was looking
earnestly into the sky, he fell into a ditch.

He was in a sad plight, and set up a cry. A man who was passing by heard
him, and stopped to see what was the matter.

“Ah, sir,” said he, “when you are trying to make out what is in the sky,
you do not see what is on the earth.”



THE FOX AND THE LION

[Illustration: 0049]

A Fox who had never seen a Lion happened one day to meet one. When he
saw him, he was so afraid that he almost died. When he met him a second
time, he was afraid, to be sure, but not as at first. The third time he
saw him, the Fox was so bold that he went up to the Lion and spoke to
him.

This fable teaches that, when we get used to fearful things, they do not
frighten us so much as at first.



THE FARMER AND THE STORK

[Illustration: 0050]

|A Farmer set a net in his field to catch the Cranes that were eating
his grain. He caught the Cranes, and with them a Stork also. The Stork
was lame, and begged the Farmer to let him go.

“I am not a Crane,” he said. “I am a Stork. I am a very good bird, and
take care of my father and mother. Look at the color of my skin; it is
not the same as the Crane’s.”

But the Farmer said: “I do not know how that is. I caught you with the
Cranes, and with the Cranes you must die.”

It is well to keep out of the way of wicked people, lest we fall into
the trap with them.



THE DOG AND THE WOLF

|A Dog was lying asleep in front of a stable. A Wolf suddenly came
upon him, and was about to eat him, but the Dog begged for his life,
saying:--

“I am lean and tough now; but wait a little, for my master is going to
give a feast, and then I shall have plenty to eat; I shall grow fat, and
make a better meal for you.”

So the Wolf agreed, and went away. By and by he came back, and found the
Dog asleep on the house-top. He called to him to come down now and do as
he had agreed. But the Dog answered:--

“Good Wolf, if you ever catch me again asleep in front of the stable,
you had better not wait for the feast to come off.”

This fable teaches that wise men, when they escape danger, take care
afterwards not to run the same risk.



THE FOX IN THE WELL

|An unlucky Fox fell into a well, and cried out for help. A Wolf heard
him, and looked down to see what the matter was.

“Ah!” said the Fox, “pray lend a hand, friend, and get me out of this.”

[Illustration: 0052]

“Poor creature,” said the Wolf, “how did this come about? How long have
you been here? You must be very cold.”

“Come, come,” says the Fox, “this is no time for pitying and asking
questions; get me out of the well first, and I will tell you all about
it afterwards.”



THE TWO PACKS

|Every man carries two Packs, one in front, the other behind, and each
is full of faults. But the one in front holds other people’s faults,
the one behind holds his own. And so it is that men do not see their own
faults at all, but see very clearly the faults of others.



THE DOG AND HIS IMAGE

[Illustration: 0053]

|A Dog, with a bit of meat in his mouth, was crossing a river. Looking
down he saw his image in the water, and thought it was another dog, with
a bigger piece. So he dropped what he had, and jumped into the water
after the other piece. Thus he lost both pieces: the one he really had,
which he dropped; and the other he wanted, which was no piece at all.

This is a good fable for greedy people.



THE FOX AND THE STORK

[Illustration: 0054]

|The Fox invited the Stork to sup with him, and placed a shallow dish on
the table. The Stork, with her long bill, could get nothing out of the
dish, while the Fox could lap up the food with his tongue; and so the
Fox laughed at the Stork.

The Stork, in her turn, asked the Fox to dine with her. She placed the
food in a long-necked jar, from which she could easily feed with her
bill, while the Fox could get nothing. That was tit for tat.



THE SPENDTHRIFT AND THE SWALLOW

|A wild young fellow, who had spent all his father’s money, and had only
a cloak left upon his back, when he saw a Swallow flying about before
it was time said: “Ah, summer has come! I shall not need my cloak any
longer; so I will sell it.” But afterwards a storm came, and, when it
was past, he saw the poor Swallow dead on the ground. “Ah, my friend!”
 said he, “you are lost yourself, and you have ruined me.”

One Swallow does not make a summer.



JACK AND THE BEAN-STALK


I. THE BEANS ARE PLANTED

|In the days of King Alfred a poor woman lived in a country village in
England. She had an only son, Jack, who was a good-natured, idle boy.
She was too easy with him. She never set him at work, and soon there was
nothing left them but their cow. Then the mother began to weep and to
think that she had brought up her boy very ill.

“Cruel boy!” she said. “You have at last made me a beggar. I have not
money enough to buy a bit of bread. We cannot starve. We must sell the
cow, and then what shall we do?”

At first Jack felt very badly and wished he had done better. But soon
he began to think what fun it would be to sell the cow. He begged his
mother to let him go with the cow to the nearest village. She was not
very willing. She did not believe Jack knew enough to sell a cow, but at
last she gave him leave.

Off went Jack with the cow. He had not gone far when he met a Butcher.

“Where are you going with your cow?” asked the Butcher.

“I am going to sell it,” said Jack. The Butcher held his hat in his hand
and shook it. Jack looked into the hat and saw some odd-looking beans.
The Butcher saw him eye them. He knew how silly Jack was, so he said to
him:--

“Well, if you wish to sell your cow, sell her to me. I will give you all
these beans for her.”

Jack thought this a fine bargain. He gave the Butcher the cow and took
the beans. He ran all the way home and could hardly wait to reach the
house. He called out to his mother to see what he had got for the cow.

When the poor woman saw only a few beans, she burst into tears. She was
so vexed that she threw the beans out of the window. She did not even
cook them for supper. They had nothing else to eat, and they went to bed
hungry.

Jack awoke early the next morning and thought it very dark. He went
to the window and could hardly see out of it, for it was covered with
something green. He ran downstairs and into the garden. There he saw a
strange sight.

The beans had taken root and shot up toward the clouds. The stalks were
as thick as trees, and were wound about each other. It was like a green
ladder, and Jack at once wished to climb to the top.

He ran in to tell his mother, but she begged him not to climb the
bean-stalk. She did not know what would happen. She was afraid to have
him go. Who ever saw such bean-stalks before?

But Jack had set his heart on climbing, and he told his mother not to
be afraid. He would soon see what it all meant. So up he climbed. He
climbed for hours. He went higher and higher, and at last, quite tired
out, he reached the top.


II. JACK CAPTURES A HEN

|Then he looked about him. It was all new. He had never seen such a
place before. There was not a tree or plant; there was no house or shed.
Some stones lay here and there, and there were little piles of earth. He
could not see a living person.

Jack sat down on one of the stones. He wished he were at home again. He
thought of his mother. He was hungry, and he did not know where to get
anything to eat. He walked and walked, and hoped he might see a house.

He saw no house, but at last he saw a lady walking alone. He ran toward
her, and when he came near, he pulled off his cap and made a bow. She
was a beautiful lady, and she carried in her hand a stick. A peacock of
fine gold sat on top of the stick.

The lady smiled and asked Jack how he came there. He told her all about
the bean-stalk. Then she said:--

“Do you remember your father?”

“No,” said Jack. “I do not know what became of him. When I speak of him
to my mother, she cries, but she tells me nothing.”

“She dare not,” said the lady, “but I will tell you. I am a fairy. I was
set to take care of your father, but one day I was careless. So I lost
my power for a few years, and just when your father needed me most I
could not help him, and he died.”

Jack saw that she was very sorry as she told this story, but he begged
her to go on.

“I will,” she said, “and you may now help your mother. But you must do
just as I tell you.”

Jack promised.

“Your father was a good, kind man. He had a good wife, he had money,
and he had friends. But he had one false friend. This was a Giant. Your
father had once helped this Giant, but the Giant was cruel. He killed
your father and took all his money. And he told your mother she must
never tell you about your father. If she did, then the Giant would kill
her and kill you too.

“You were a little child then, and your mother carried you away in her
arms. I could not help her at the time, but my power came back to me
yesterday. So I made you go off with the cow, and I made you take the
beans, and I made you climb the bean-stalk.

“This is the land where the Giant lives. You must find him and rid the
world of him. All that he has is yours, for he took it from your father.
Now go. You must keep on this road till you see a great house. The Giant
lives there. I cannot tell you what you must do next, but I will help
you when the time comes. But you must not tell your mother anything.”

The fairy disappeared and Jack set out. He walked all day, and when the
sun set, he came to the Giant’s house. He went up to it and saw a plain
woman by the door. This was the Giant’s wife. Jack spoke to her and
asked her if she would give him something to eat and a place where he
could sleep.

“What!” she said. “Do you not know? My husband is a Giant. He is away
now, but he will be back soon. Sometimes he walks fifty miles in a day
to see if he can find a man or a boy. He eats people. He will eat you if
he finds you here.”

Jack was in great fear, but he would not give up. He asked the Giant’s
wife to hide him somewhere in the house. She was a kind woman, so she
led him in. They went through a great hall, and then through some large
rooms. They came to a dark passage, and went through it. There was a
little light, and Jack could see bars of iron at the side. Behind the
bars were wretched people. They were the prisoners of the Giant.

Poor Jack thought of his mother and wished himself at home again. He
began to think the Giant’s wife was as bad as the Giant, and had brought
him in to shut him up here. Then he thought of his father and marched
boldly on.

They came to a room where a table was set. Jack sat down and began to
eat. He was very hungry and soon forgot his fears. But while he was
eating, there came a loud knock at the outside door. It was so loud that
the whole house shook. The Giant’s wife turned pale.

“What shall I do?” she cried. “It is the Giant. He will kill you and
kill me too! What shall I do?”

“Hide me in the oven,” said Jack. There was no fire under it, and Jack
lay in the oven and looked out. The Giant came in and scolded his wife,
and then he sat down and ate and drank for a long time. Jack thought
he never would finish. At last the Giant leaned back in his chair and
called out in a loud voice:--

“Bring me my hen!”

His wife brought a beautiful hen and placed it on the table.

“Lay!” roared the Giant, and the hen laid an egg of solid gold.

“Lay another!” And the hen laid another. So it went on. Each time the
hen laid a larger egg than before. The Giant played with the hen for
some time. Then he sent his wife to bed, but he sat in his chair. Soon
he fell asleep, and then Jack crept out of the oven and seized the hen.
He ran out of the house and down the road. He kept on till he came to
the bean-stalk, and climbed down to his old home.


III. THE GIANT’S MONEY-BAGS

|Jack’s mother was very glad to see him. She was afraid that he had come
to some ill end. “Not a bit of it, mother,” said he. “Look here!” and he
showed her the hen. “Lay!” he said to the hen, and the hen laid an egg
of gold.

Jack and his mother now had all they needed, for they had only to tell
the hen to lay, and she laid her golden egg. They sold the egg and had
money enough. But Jack kept thinking of his father, and he longed to
make another trial. He had told his mother about the Giant and his wife,
but he had said nothing about the fairy and his father.

His mother begged Jack not to climb the beanstalk again. She said the
Giant’s wife would be sure to know him, and he never would come back
alive. Jack said nothing, but he put on some other clothes and stained
his face and hands another color. Then, one morning, he rose early and
climbed the bean-stalk a second time.

He went straight to the Giant’s house. The Giant’s wife was again at the
door, but she did not know him. He begged for food and a place to sleep.
She told him about the Giant, and then she said:--

“There was once a boy who came just as you have come. I let him in, and
he stole the Giant’s hen and ran away. Ever since the Giant has been
very cruel to me. No, I cannot let you come in.”

But Jack begged so hard that at last she let him in. She led him
through the house, and he saw just what he had seen before. She gave him
something to eat, and then she hid him in a closet. The Giant came along
in his heavy boots. He was so big, that the house shook. He sat by the
fire for a time. Then he looked about and said:--

“Wife, I smell fresh meat.”

“Yes,” she said. “The crows have been flying about. They left some raw
meat on top of the house.”

Then she made haste and got some supper for the giant.

He was very cross. So it went on as before. The Giant ate and
drank. Then he called to his wife:--

“Bring me something. I want to be amused. You let that rascal steal my
hen. Bring me something.”

“What shall I bring?” she asked meekly.

“Bring me my money-bags; they are as heavy as anything.” So she tugged
two great bags to the table. One was full of silver and one was full
of gold. The Giant sent his wife to bed. Then he untied the strings,
emptied his bags, and counted his money. Jack watched him, and said to
himself:--

“That is my father’s money.”

By and by the Giant was tired. He put the money back into the bags
and tied the strings. Then he went to sleep. He had a dog to watch his
money, but Jack did not see the dog. So when the Giant was sound asleep,
Jack came out of the closet and laid hold of the bags.

At this the dog barked, and Jack thought his end had come. But the Giant
did not wake, and Jack just then saw a bit of meat. He gave it to the
dog, and while the dog was eating it, Jack took the two bags and was
off.


IV. THE HARP

|It was two whole days before he could reach the bean-stalk, for the
bags were very heavy. Then he climbed down with them. But when he came
to his house the door was locked. No one was inside, and he knew not
what to do.

After a while he found an old woman who showed him where his mother was.
She was very sick in another house. The poor thing had been made ill by
Jack’s going away. Now that he had come back, she began to get well, and
soon she was in her own house again.

Jack said no more about the Giant and the bean-stalk. For three years he
lived with his mother. They had money enough, and all seemed well. But
Jack could not forget his father. He sat all day before the bean-stalk.
His mother tried hard to amuse him, and she tried to find out what he
was thinking about. He did not tell her, for he knew all would then go
wrong.

At last he could bear it no longer. He had changed in looks now, and he
changed himself still more. Then, one bright summer morning, very early
in the day, he climbed the bean-stalk once more. The Giant’s wife did
not know him when he came to the door of the house. He had hard work to
make her let him in.

This time he was hidden in the copper boiler.

The Giant again came home, and was in a great rage.

“I smell fresh meat!” he cried. His wife could do nothing with him, and
he began to go about the room. He looked into the oven, and into the
closet, and then he came to the great boiler. Jack felt his heart stop.
He thought now his end had come, surely. But the Giant did not lift the
lid. He sat down by the fire and had his supper.

When supper was over, the Giant told his wife to bring his harp. Jack
peeped out of the copper and saw a most beautiful harp. The Giant placed
it on the table, and said:--

“Play!”

Jack never heard such music as the harp played. No hands touched it. It
played all by itself. He thought he would rather have this harp than the
hen or all the money. By and by the harp played the Giant to sleep. Then
Jack crept out and seized the harp. He was running off with it, when
some one called loudly:--

“Master! Master!”

It was the harp, but Jack would not let it go. The Giant started up, and
saw Jack with the harp running down the road.

“Stop, you rascal!” he shouted. “You stole my hen and my money-bags.
Do you steal my harp? I’ll catch you, and I’ll break every bone in your
body!”

[Illustration: 0070]

“Catch me if you can!” said Jack. He knew he could run faster than the
Giant. Off they went, Jack and the harp, and the Giant after them. Jack
came to the bean-stalk. The harp was all the while playing music, but
now Jack said:--

“Stop!” and the harp stopped playing. He hurried down the bean-stalk
with the harp. There sat his mother, by the cottage, weeping.

“Do not cry, mother,” he said. “Quick, bring me a hatchet! Make haste!”
 He knew there was not a minute to spare. The Giant was already coming
down. He was half-way down when Jack took his hatchet and cut the
beanstalk down, close to its roots. Over fell the bean-stalk, and down
came the Giant upon the ground. He was killed on the spot.

[Illustration: 0067]

In a moment the fairy was seen. She told Jack’s mother everything, and
how brave he had been. And that was the end. The beanstalk never grew
again.



THE FROG AND THE OX

|An Ox, grazing in a swampy meadow, set his foot among a number of young
Frogs, and crushed nearly all to death. One that escaped ran off to his
mother with the dreadful news.

“Oh, mother,” said he, “it was a beast--such A big, four-footed beast,
that did it!”

[Illustration: 0072]

“Big?” said the old Frog. “How big? Was it as big as this?” and she
puffed herself out. “Oh, a great deal bigger than that.”

“Well, was it so big?” and she swelled herself out more.

“Indeed, mother, it was; and if you were to burst yourself, you would
never reach half its size.” The old Frog made one more trial, determined
to be as big as the Ox, and burst herself indeed.



THE MILLER, HIS SON, AND THEIR ASS

|A Miller and his Son were driving their Ass to the fair to sell him.
They had not gone far, when they met a troop of girls, returning from
the town, talking and laughing.

“Look there!” cried one of them. “Did you ever see such fools, to be
trudging along on foot, when they might be riding?” The Miller, when he
heard this, bade his Son get up on the Ass, and walked along merrily by
his side. Soon they came to a group of old men talking gravely.

“There!” said one of them; “that proves what I was saying. What respect
is shown to old age in these days? Do you see that idle young rogue
riding, while his father has to walk? Get down, lazy boy, and let the
old man get on!”

The Son got down from the Ass, and the Miller took his place. They had
not gone far when they met a company of women and children.

“Why, you lazy old fellow!” cried several at once. “How can you ride
upon the beast, when that poor little lad can hardly keep up with you?”

So the good-natured Miller took his Son up behind him. They had now
almost reached the town.

“Pray, my friend,” said a townsman, “is that Ass your own?”

“Yes,” said the Miller.

“I should not have thought so,” said the other, “by the way you load
him. Why, you two are better able to carry the poor beast than he to
carry you.”

“Anything to please you,” said the Miller. So he and his Son got down
from the Ass. They tied his legs together, and, taking a stout pole,
tried to carry him on their shoulders over a bridge that led to the
town.

This was so odd a sight that crowds of people ran out to see it, and to
laugh at it. The Ass, not liking to be tied, kicked the cords away, and
tumbled off the pole into the water. At this the Miller and his Son hung
down their heads. They made their way home again, having learned that
by trying to please everybody, they had pleased nobody, and lost the Ass
into the bargain.



CINDERELLA, OR THE GLASS SLIPPER


I. CINDERELLA IN THE KITCHEN

|Once upon a time there lived a man and his wife and one beautiful
daughter. The wife fell sick and died, and some time after the father
married again, for he needed some one to take care of his child. The new
wife appeared very well before the wedding, but afterward she showed
a bad temper. She had two children of her own, and they were proud and
unkind like their mother. They could not bear their gentle sister, and
they made her do all the hard work.

She washed the dishes, and scrubbed the stairs. She swept the floor in
my lady’s chamber, and took care of the rooms of the two pert misses.
They slept on soft beds in fine rooms, and had tall looking-glasses,
so that they could admire themselves from top to toe. She lay on an old
straw sack in the garret.

She bore all this without complaint. She did her work, and then sat in
the corner among the ashes and cinders. So her two sisters gave her the
name of Cinderella or the cinder-maid. But Cinderella was really much
more beautiful than they; and she surely was more sweet and gentle.

Now the king’s son gave a ball, and he invited all the rich and the
grand. Cinderella’s two sisters were fine ladies; they were to go to
the ball. Perhaps they would even dance with the prince. So they had new
gowns made, and they looked over all their finery.

Here was fresh work for poor Cinderella. She must starch their ruffles
and iron their linen. All day long they talked of nothing but their fine
clothes.

“I shall wear my red velvet dress,” said the elder, “and trim it with my
point lace.”

“And I,” said the younger sister, “shall wear a silk gown, but I shall
wear over it a gold brocade, and I shall put on my diamonds. You have
nothing so fine.”

Then they began to quarrel over their clothes, and Cinderella tried
to make peace between them. She helped them about their dresses, and
offered to arrange their hair on the night of the ball.

While she was thus busy, the sisters said to her:--

“And pray, Cinderella, would you like to go to the ball?”

“Nay,” said the poor girl; “you are mocking me. It is not for such as I
to go to balls.”

“True enough,” they said. “Folks would laugh to see a cinder-maid at a
court ball.”

Any one else would have dressed their hair ill to spite them for their
rudeness. But Cinderella was good-natured, and only took more pains to
make them look well.

The two sisters scarcely ate a morsel for two days before the ball. They
wished to look thin and graceful. They lost their tempers over and over,
and they spent most of the time before their tall glasses. There they
turned and turned to see how they looked behind, and how their long
trains hung.

At last the evening came, and off they set in a coach. Cinderella
watched them till they were out of sight, and then she sat down by the
kitchen fire and began to weep.

All at once her fairy godmother appeared, with her wand.

“What are you crying for, my little maid?”

“I wish--I wish,” began the poor girl, but her voice was choked with
tears.

“You wish that you could go to the ball?”

Cinderella nodded.

“Well, then, if you will be a good girl, you shall go. Run quick and
fetch me a pumpkin from the garden.”

Cinderella flew to the garden and brought back the finest pumpkin she
could find. She could not guess what use it would be, but the fairy
scooped it hollow, and then touched it with her wand. The pumpkin became
at once a splendid gilt coach.

“Now fetch me the mouse-trap from the pantry.”

In the mouse-trap were six sleek mice. The fairy opened the door, and as
they ran out she touched each with her wand, and it became a gray horse.
But what was she to do for a coachman?

“We might look for a rat in the rat-trap,” said Cinderella.

“That is a good thought. Run and bring the rat-trap, my dear.”

Back came Cinderella with the trap. In it were three large rats. The
fairy chose one that had long black whiskers, and she made him the
coachman.

“Now go into the garden and bring me six lizards. You will find them
behind the water-pot.”

These were no sooner brought than, lo! with a touch of the wand they
were turned into six footmen, who jumped up behind the coach, as if they
had done nothing else all their days. Then the fairy said:--

“Here is your coach and six, Cinderella; your coachman and your footmen.
Now you can go to the ball.”

“What! in these clothes?” and Cinderella looked down at her ragged
frock. The fairy laughed, and just touched her with the wand. In a
twinkling, her shabby clothes were changed to a dress of gold and silver
lace, and on her bare feet were silk stockings and a pair of glass
slippers, the prettiest ever seen.

[Illustration: 0079]

“Now go to the ball, Cinderella; but remember, if you stay one moment
after midnight, your coach will instantly become a pumpkin, your horses
will be mice, your coachman a rat, and your footmen lizards. And you?
You will be once more only a cinder-maid in a ragged frock and with bare
feet.”


II. CINDERELLA IN THE PALACE

|Cinderella promised and drove away in high glee. She dashed up to the
palace, and her coach was so fine that the king’s son came down the
steps of the palace to hand out this unknown princess. He led her to the
hall where all the guests were dancing.

The moment she appeared all voices were hushed, the music stopped, and
the dancers stood still. Such a beautiful princess had never been seen!
Even the king, old as he was, turned to the queen and said:--

“She is the most beautiful being I ever saw--since I first saw you!”

As for the ladies of the court, they were all busy looking at
Cinderella’s clothes. They meant to get some just like them the very
next day, if possible.

The prince led Cinderella to the place of highest rank, and asked her
hand for the next dance. She danced with so much grace that he admired
her more and more. Supper was brought in, but the prince could not keep
his eyes off the beautiful stranger. Cinderella went and sat by her
sisters, and shared with them the fruit which the prince gave her. They
were very proud to have her by them, for they never dreamed who she
really was.

Cinderella was talking with them, when she heard the clock strike the
quarter hour before twelve. She went at once to the king and queen, and
made them a low courtesy and bade them good-night. The queen said there
was to be another ball the next night, and she must come to that. The
prince led her down the steps to her coach, and she drove home.

At the house the fairy sat waiting for Cinderella. The maiden began to
tell all that had happened, and was in the midst of her story, when a
knock was heard at the door. It was the sisters coming home from the
ball. The fairy disappeared, and Cinderella went to the door, rubbing
her eyes, as if she had just waked from a nap. She was once more a poor
little cinder-maid.

“How late you are!” she said, as she opened the door.

“If you had been to the ball, you would not have thought it late,” said
her sisters. “There came the most beautiful princess that ever was seen.
She was very polite to us, and loaded us with oranges and grapes.”

“Who was she?” asked Cinderella.

“Nobody knew her name. The prince would give his eyes to know.”

“Ah! how I should like to see her,” said Cinderella. “Oh, do, my Lady
Javotte,”--that was the name of the elder sister,--“lend me the yellow
dress you wear every day, and let me go to the ball and have a peep at
the beautiful princess.”

“What! lend my yellow gown to a cinder-maid! I am not so silly as that.”

Cinderella was not sorry to have Javotte say no; she would have been
puzzled to know what to do if her sister had really lent her the dress
she begged for.

The next night came, and the sisters again went to the court ball. After
they had gone, the fairy came as before and made Cinderella ready.

“Now remember,” she said, as the coach drove away, “remember twelve
o’clock.”

Cinderella was even more splendid than on the first night, and the
king’s son never left her side He said so many pretty things that
Cinderella could think of nothing else. She forgot the fairy’s warning;
she forgot her promise. Eleven o’clock came, but she did not notice the
striking. The half-hour struck, but the prince grew more charming, and
Cinderella could hear nothing but his voice. The last quarter--but still
Cinderella sat by the prince.

Then the great clock on the tower struck the first stroke of twelve. Up
sprang Cinderella, and fled from the room. The prince started to follow
her, but she was too swift for him; in her flight, one of her glass
slippers fell from her feet, and he stopped to pick it up.

The last stroke of twelve died away, as Cinderella darted down the
steps of the palace. In a twinkling the gay lady was gone; only a shabby
cinder-maid was running down the steps. The splendid coach and six,
driver and footman,--all were gone; only a pumpkin lay on the ground,
and a rat, six mice, and six lizards scampered off.

Cinderella reached home, quite out of breath. She had saved nothing of
all her finery but one little glass slipper. The prince had its mate,
but he had lost the princess. He asked the soldiers at the palace gate
if they had not seen her drive away. No; at that hour only a ragged girl
had passed out.

Soon the two sisters came home from the ball, and Cinderella asked them
if they had again seen the beautiful lady. Yes; she had been at the
ball, but she had left suddenly, and no one knew what had become of
her. But the prince would surely find her, for he had one of her glass
slippers.

They spoke truly. A few days afterward, the king’s son sent a messenger
with a trumpet and the slipper through all the city. The messenger
sounded his trumpet and shouted that the prince would marry the lady who
could wear the glass slipper. So the slipper was first tried on by
all the princesses; then by all the duchesses; next by all the persons
belonging to the court; but in vain: not one could wear it.

Then it was carried to all the fine houses, and it came at last to the
two sisters. They tried with all their might to force a foot into the
fairy slipper, but they could not. Cinderella stood by, and said:--

“Suppose I were to try.” Her two sisters jeered at her, but the
messenger looked at Cinderella. He saw that she was very fair, and,
besides, he had orders to try the slipper on the foot of every maiden in
the kingdom, if need were.

So he bade Cinderella sit down on a three-legged stool in the kitchen.
She put out her little foot, and the slipper fitted like wax. The
sisters stood in amaze. Then Cinderella put her hand into her pocket and
drew forth the other glass slipper, and put it on her other foot.

[Illustration: 0085]

The moment that Cinderella did this, the fairy, who stood by unseen,
touched her with her wand, and the cinder-maid again became the
beautiful, gayly dressed lady. The sisters saw that she was the same one
whom they had seen at the ball. They thought how ill they had treated
her all these years, and they fell at her feet and asked her to forgive
them.

Cinderella was as good now as she had been when she was a cinder-maid.
She freely forgave her sisters, and took them to the palace with her,
for she was now to be the prince’s wife. And when the old king and queen
died, the prince and Cinderella became King and Queen.



THE WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING

[Illustration: 0086]

|A Wolf once dressed himself in the skin of a Sheep, and so got in among
the flock, where he killed a good many of them. At last the Shepherd
found him out, and hanged him upon a tree as a warning to other wolves.

Some Shepherds going by saw the wolf, and thought it was a Sheep. They
wondered why the Shepherd should hang a Sheep. So they asked him, and he
answered: “I hang a Wolf when I catch him, even though he be dressed in
a Sheep’s clothes.”



THE ARAB AND HIS CAMEL

|One cold night, as an Arab sat in his tent, a Camel thrust the flap of
the tent aside, and looked in.

“I pray thee, master,” he said, “let me put my head within the tent, for
it is cold without.”

“By all means, and welcome,” said the Arab; and the Camel stretched his
head into the tent.

“If I might but warm my neck, also,” he said, presently.

“Put your neck inside,” said the Arab. Soon the Camel, who had been
turning his head from side to side, said again:--

“It will take but little more room if I put my fore legs within the
tent. It is difficult standing without.”

“You may also put your fore legs within,” said the Arab, moving a little
to make room, for the tent was very small.

“May I not stand wholly within?” asked the Camel, finally. “I keep the
tent open by standing as I do.”

“Yes, yes,” said the Arab. “I will have pity on you as well as on
myself. Come wholly inside.”

So the Camel came forward and crowded into the tent. But the tent was
too small for both.

“I think,” said the Camel, “that there is not room for both of us here.
It will be best for you to stand outside, as you are the smaller; there
will then be room enough for me.”

And with that he pushed the Arab a little, who made haste to get outside
of the tent.

It is a wise rule to resist the beginnings of evil.



TOM THUMB


I. TOM IS SOLD FOR A BARGAIN

|A poor woodman once sat by the fire in his cottage, and his wife sat by
his side, spinning.

“How lonely it is,” said he, “for you and me to sit here by ourselves
without any children to play about and amuse us.”

“What you say is very true,” said his wife, as she turned her wheel.
“How happy should I be, if I had but one child. If it were ever so
small, if it were no bigger than my thumb, I should be very happy and
love it dearly.”

Now it came to pass that the good woman had her wish, for some time
afterward she had a little boy who was healthy and strong, but not much
bigger than her thumb. So they said:--

“Well, we cannot say we have not got what we wished for, and, little
as he is, we will love him dearly!” and they called him Tom Thumb. They
gave him plenty to eat, yet he never grew bigger. Still his eyes were
sharp and sparkling, and he soon showed himself to be a bright little
fellow, who always knew what he was about.

One day the woodman was getting ready to go into the wood to cut fuel,
and he said:--

“I wish I had some one to bring the cart after me, for I want to make
haste.”

“O father,” cried Tom, “I will take care of that. The cart shall be in
the wood by the time you want it.” The woodman laughed and said:

“How can that be? You cannot reach up to the horse’s bridle.”

“Never mind that, father. If my mother will only harness the horse, I
will get into his ear, and tell him which way to go.”

“Well,” said the father, “we will try for once.”

When the time came, the mother harnessed the horse to the cart, and put
Tom into his ear. There the little man sat and told the beast how to go,
crying out, “Go on,” and “Stop,” as he wanted. So the horse went on just
as if the woodman were driving it himself.

It happened that the horse fell to trotting too fast, and Tom called
out, “Gently, gently.” Just then two strangers came up.

“How odd it is,” one of them said. “There is a cart going along, and I
hear a carter talking to the horse, but I see no one.”

“That is strange,” said the other. “Let us follow the cart and see where
it goes.” They went on into the wood, and came at last to the place
where the woodman was. The cart drove up and Tom said:--

“See, father, here I am with the cart, safe and sound. Now, take me
down.”

So his father took hold of the horse with one hand, and lifted his son
down with the other. He put him on a little stick, where he was as merry
as you please. The two strangers looked on and saw it all, and did
not know what to say for wonder. At last one took the other aside and
said:--

“That little chap will make our fortune if we can get him, and carry him
about from town to town as a show. We must buy him.” Then they went
to the woodman and asked him what he would take for the little man. “He
will be better off with us than with you,” they said.

“I’ll not sell him at all,” said the father. “My own flesh and blood is
dearer to me than all the silver and gold in the world.”

But Tom heard what was said, and crept up his father’s coat to his
shoulder, and spoke in his ear:--

“Take the money, father, and let them have me. I’ll soon come back to
you.” So the woodman at last agreed to sell Tom Thumb to the strangers
for a large piece of gold.

“Where do you like to sit?” one of them asked Tom.

“Oh, put me on the rim of your hat; that will be a nice place for me. I
can walk about there and see the country as we go along.”

They did as he wished. Tom took leave of his father, and went off with
the two strangers. They kept on their way till it began to grow dark.
Then Tom said:--

“Let me get down, I am tired.” So the man took off his hat, and set him
down on a lump of earth in a ploughed field, by the side of the road.
But Tom ran about among the furrows, and at last slipped into an old
mouse-hole.

“Good-night, masters. I’m off,” said he.

“Look sharp after me next time.” They ran to the place and poked the
ends of their sticks into the mouse-hole, but all in vain. Tom crawled
farther in. They could not get him, and as it was now quite dark they
went away very cross.


II. HOW TOM FRIGHTENED THE THIEVES

|When Tom found they were gone, he crept out of his hiding-place.

“How dangerous it is,” said he, “to walk about in this ploughed field.
If I were to fall from one of those big lumps I should surely break my
neck.” At last, he found a large, empty snail-shell.

[Illustration: 0093]

“This is lucky,” said he. “I can sleep here very well,” and in he crept.
Just as he was falling asleep he heard two men pass by, and one said to
the other:--

“How shall we manage to steal that rich farmer’s silver and gold?”

“I’ll tell you!” cried Tom.

“What noise was that? I am sure I heard some one speak,” said the thief.
He was in a great fright. They both stood listening, and Tom spoke up:--

“Take me with you, and I will show you how to get the farmer’s money.”

“But where are you?”

“Look about on the ground, and listen where the sound comes from.”

“What a little chap! What can you do for us?”

“Why, I can get between the iron window bars, and throw you out whatever
you want.”

“That is a good thought. Come along; we will see what you can do.”

When they came to the farmer’s house, Tom slipped through the bars into
the room, and then called out as loud as he could:--

“Will you have all that is here?”

“Softly, softly!” said the thieves. “Speak low, or you will wake
somebody.”

Tom made as if he did not understand them, and bawled out again:--

“How much will you have? Shall I throw it all out?”

Now the cook lay in the next room, and hearing a noise, she raised
herself in her bed and listened. But the thieves had been thrown into a
fright and had run away. By and by they plucked up courage, and said:--

“That little fellow is only trying to make fools of us.” So they came
back and spoke low to him, saying: “Now let us have no more of your
jokes, but throw out some of the money.” Then Tom called out again as
loud as he could:--

“Very well! Hold your hands; here it comes.”

The cook heard this plainly; she sprang out of bed, and ran to open the
door. The thieves were off as if a wolf were after them, and the cook
could see nothing in the dark. So she went back for a light, and while
she was gone, Tom slipped off into the barn.

The cook looked about and searched every hole and corner, but found
nobody; she went back to bed, and thought she must have been dreaming
with her eyes open. Tom crawled about in the hayloft, and at last found
a good place to rest in. He meant to sleep till daylight, and then find
his way home to his father and mother.


III. INSIDE A COW

|Poor Tom Thumb! his troubles were only begun. The cook got up early
to feed the cows. She went straight to the hayloft, and carried away
a large bundle of hay, with the little man in the middle of it fast
asleep. He slept on, and did not wake till he found himself in the mouth
of a cow. She had taken him up with a mouthful of hay.

“Dear me,” said he, “how did I manage to tumble into the mill?” But he
soon found out where he was, and he had to keep all his wits about him,
or he would have fallen between the cow’s teeth, and then he would have
been crushed to death. At last he went down into her stomach.

“It is rather dark here,” said he; “they forgot to build windows in this
room to let the sun in.” He made the best of his bad luck, but he did
not like his resting-place at all. The worst of it was, that more and
more hay was coming down, and there was less and less room to turn round
in. At last he cried out as loud as he could:--

“Don’t bring me any more hay! don’t bring me any more hay!” The cook
just then was milking the cow. She heard some one speak, but she saw
nobody. Yet she was sure it was the same voice she had heard in the
night. It put her into such a fright that she fell off her stool and
upset her milk-pail. She ran off as fast as she could to the farmer, and
said:--

“Sir, sir, the cow is talking.” But the farmer said:--

“Woman, thou art surely mad.” Still, he went with her into the
cow-house, to see what was the matter. Just as they went in, Tom cried
out again:--

“Don’t bring me any more hay! don’t bring me any more hay!” Then the
farmer was in a fright. He was sure the cow must be mad, so he gave
orders to have her killed at once. The cow was killed, and the stomach
with Tom in it was thrown into the barnyard.


IV. SAFE AT HOME AGAIN

|Tom soon set himself to work to get out, and that was not a very easy
task. A hungry wolf was prowling about. Just as Tom had made room to get
his head out the wolf seized the stomach and swallowed it. Off he ran,
but Tom was not cast down. He began to chat with the wolf, and called
out:--

“My good friend, I can show you a famous treat.”

“Where is that?”

“In the house near the wood. You can crawl through the drain into the
kitchen, and there you will find cakes, ham, beef, and everything that
is nice.” This was the house where Tom Thumb lived. The wolf did not
need to be asked twice. That very night he went to the house and crawled
through the drain into the kitchen. There he ate and drank to his
heart’s content.

After a while he had eaten so much that he was ready to go away. But
now he could not squeeze through the drain. This was just what Tom had
thought of, and the little chap set up a great shout.

“Will you be quiet?” said the wolf. “You will wake everybody in the
house.”

“What is that to me?” said the little man. “You have had your frolic;
now I have a mind to be merry myself.” And he began again to sing and
shout as loud as he could.

The woodman and his wife were awakened by the noise, and peeped through
a crack into the kitchen. When they saw a wolf there, they were in a
great fright. The woodman ran for his axe, and gave his wife a scythe.

“You stay behind,” said the woodman.

“When I have knocked the wolf on the head, you run at him with the
scythe.” Tom heard all this, and said:--

“Father! father! I am here. The wolf has swallowed me.”

“Heaven be praised!” said the woodman. “We have found our dear child
again. Do not use the scythe, wife, for you may hurt him.” Then he aimed
a great blow, and struck the wolf on the head, and killed him at once.
They opened him, and set Tom Thumb free.

“Ah!” said his father, “what fears we have had for you!”

“Yes, father,” he answered. “I have traveled all over the world since we
parted, and now I am very glad to get fresh air again.”

“Where have you been?”

“I have been in a mouse-hole, in a snail-shell, down a cow’s throat, and
inside the wolf, and yet here I am again, safe and sound.”

“Well, well,” said his father. “We will not sell you again for all the
riches in the world.”

So they hugged and kissed their dear little son, and gave him plenty
to eat and drink. And they bought him new clothes, for his old ones had
been quite spoiled on his journey.



THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE

[Illustration: 0101]

A Hare once made fun of a Tortoise.

“What a slow way you have!” he said. “How you creep along!”

“Do I?” said the Tortoise. “Try a race with me, and I will beat you.”

“You only say that for fun,” said the Hare. “But come! I will race with
you. Who will mark off the bounds, and give the prize?”

“Let us ask the Fox,” said the Tortoise.

The Fox was very wise and fair. He showed them where they were to start,
and how far they were to run.

The Tortoise lost no time. She started at once, and jogged straight on.

The Hare knew he could come to the end in two or three jumps. So he lay
down and took a nap first. By and by he awoke, and then ran fast. But
when he came to the end, the Tortoise was already there!



THE COUNTRY MOUSE AND THE TOWN MOUSE

[Illustration: 0102]

|A Country Mouse had a friend who lived in a house in town. Now the Town
Mouse was invited by the Country Mouse to take dinner with him. Out he
went, and sat down to a dinner of barley and wheat.

“Do you know, my friend,” said he, “that you live a mere ant’s life out
here? Now, I have plenty at home. Come and enjoy the good things there
with me.”

So the two set off for town. There the Town Mouse showed the other his
beans and meal, his dates, his cheese and fruit and honey.

As the Country Mouse ate, drank, and was merry, he praised his friend
and bewailed his own poor lot.

But while they were urging each other to eat heartily, a man suddenly
opened the door. Frightened by the noise, they crept into a crack. By
and by, when he had gone, they came out and tasted of some dried figs.
In came another person to get something that was in the room. When they
caught sight of him, they ran and hid in a hole.

At that the Country Mouse forgot his hunger, and with a sigh, said to
the other:--

“Please yourself, my good friend; eat all you want and get rich,--and be
in a fright the whole time. As for me, I am a poor fellow, I know, who
have only barley and wheat. But I am content to live on those, and have
nothing to frighten me.”

Those who have the plain things of life are often better off than the
rich.



THE GNAT AND THE BULL

|A Gnat once lit on a Bull’s horn, and stayed there a long while.

When he was about to fly away, he asked the Bull if he would like to
have him go now.

“Why,” said the Bull, “I did not know you were there.”

People often think themselves important when, in truth, no one is
noticing them.



THE SLEEPING BEAUTY IN THE WOOD


I. THE BEAUTY GOES TO SLEEP

|Once upon a time there lived a king and queen who grieved that they had
no child. But at last a daughter was born, and the king was very happy.
He gave a great feast, and asked to it all the fairies in the land,
seven in all. He hoped that each would give the child a gift.

In front of each fairy at the table was set a heavy gold plate, and by
each plate a gold knife and fork. Just as they sat down to the feast, in
came an old fairy who had not been invited. No one knew she was living.
Fifty years before she had shut herself up in a tower, and had not been
seen since.

The king hurried off to find a gold plate and knife and fork for her
also. But nothing could be found so fine as the seven plates which had
been made for the seven fairies. The old fairy thought herself ill-used
and grumbled in a low voice. At that, one of the young fairies feared
she meant mischief to the child, and so, when the feast was over, hid
herself behind the hangings in the hall. We shall soon see why she did
this.

The fairies now began to give gifts to the child, beginning with the
youngest. She gave her beauty; the next gave her wit; the third gave her
grace; the fourth said she should dance perfectly; the fifth gave her a
voice to sing; the sixth said she should play beautifully on the harp.

The turn of the old fairy had now come. She shook her head wickedly and
said the child would grow up, but when she was grown, she would pierce
her hand, when spinning, and die of the wound. At this, all the company
began to weep. But the fairy who had hidden came forward and said:--

“Be of good cheer, king and queen. Your daughter shall not so die. I
cannot entirely undo what my elder has done. The princess must pierce
her hand when spinning, but instead of dying she shall fall into a deep
sleep. The sleep shall last a hundred years. At the end of that time a
king’s son will come to wake her.”

The king was very sad, but he hoped he might prevent the evil. So he
made a law that no one in the kingdom should spin or have a spinning
wheel in the house, under pain of instant death.

All went well for fifteen years. Then it chanced that the princess was
with the king and queen in one of their castles, and was spying about
for herself. She came to a little chamber at the top of a tower, and
there sat an honest old woman spinning. She was very old and deaf, and
had never heard of the king’s command.

“What are you doing?” asked the princess.

“I’m spinning, my pretty child.”

“How charming it is!” said the princess. “How do you do it? Let me try
if I can spin.” She seized the spindle, but she was hasty and careless,
and pierced her hand with its point. She fainted, and the old woman, in
great alarm, ran for help. People came running from all sides, but they
could not rouse her.

The king heard the noise and came also. Then he saw that the cruel fairy
had had her wish. His daughter would not wake for a hundred years. He
laid her on the bed in the best room, and stood sadly looking upon
her. She was asleep. He could hear her breathe. Her cheeks were full of
color, but her eyes were closed.

Now the good fairy, who had said the princess should wake in a hundred
years, was thousands of miles away at the time. But she knew of it, and
came at once in a chariot of fire drawn by dragons. The king came to
meet her, his eyes red with weeping.

The good fairy was very wise and saw that the princess would not know
what to do if she awoke all alone in the castle, in a hundred years. So
this is what she did.

She touched with her wand every one in the castle except the king and
the queen. She touched the maids of honor, the gentlemen, the officers,
the stewards, cooks, boys, guards, porters, pages, footmen. She
touched the horses in the stable, the grooms, the great mastiff in the
court-yard, and the tiny lapdog of the princess that was on the bed
beside her.

The moment she touched them, they all fell asleep just as they were, not
to wake again until the time came for their mistress to do so. Then they
all would be ready to wait on her. Even the fire went to sleep, and the
roasting-spit before the fire with its fowls ready for roasting.

It was the work of a moment. The king and queen kissed their daughter
good-by and left the castle. The king sent forth a command that no one
was to go near the castle. That was needless. In a quarter of an hour,
a wood had grown about it so thick and thorny that nothing could get
through it. The castle-top itself could only be seen from afar.


II. THE BEAUTY WAKES

|After a few years the king and the queen died. They had no other child,
and the kingdom passed into the hands of a distant family. A hundred
years went by. The son of the king who was then reigning was out hunting
one day, when he noticed the tower of a castle in the distance. He asked
what castle it was.

All manner of answers were given to him. One said It was a fairy castle;
another said that a great monster lived there. At last an old man
said:--

“Prince, more than fifty years ago I heard my father say that there was
in that castle the most beautiful princess ever seen. She was to sleep
for a hundred years, and was to be waked at last by the king’s son, who
was to marry her.”

The young prince at these words felt himself on fire. He had not a doubt
that he was the one to awaken the princess. He set out at once for the
wood, and when he drew near, the trees and thorns opened to offer him a
path.

He was on a long, straight road, and at the end was the castle in full
view. He turned to look for his comrades. Not one was to be seen. The
wood had closed again behind him. He was alone, and all was still
about him. Forward he went and came to the castle-gate. He entered the
court-yard, and stood still in amazement.

On every side were the bodies of men and animals. But the faces of the
men were rosy; it was plain that they were asleep. His steps sounded
on the marble floor. He entered the guard-room. There the guards stood
drawn up in line, with their spears in their hands, but they did not
move. They were fast asleep.

He passed through one room after another; people were asleep in chairs,
on benches, standing, sitting, lying down. He entered a beautiful room,
covered with gold, and saw the most wonderful sight of all.

There lay a maiden so fair that she seemed to belong to another world.
He drew near and knelt beside her. She did not stir. Her hand lay on her
breast, and he touched his lips to it.

As he did this, her eyes opened and looked at the young man. She smiled,
and said:--

“Have you come, my prince? I have waited long for you.”

The prince hardly knew how to answer. But he soon found his voice, and
they talked for hours, and then had not said half that was in their
heads to say.

[Illustration: 0111]

The moment that the princess waked, her little lapdog waked also. The
great mastiff in the court-yard awoke; the horses in the stable and the
grooms awoke; the footmen, the pages, the porters, the guards, the boys,
the cooks, the stewards, the officers, the gentlemen, and the maids of
honor, all awoke. The fire began to burn again, the spits turned round,
and the fowls began to roast.

So, while the prince and the princess forgot the hours in talk, these
people began to be hungry. The maids of honor went to the princess to
tell her that they all waited for her. Then the prince took the princess
by the hand and led her into the hall.

She was dressed in great splendor. But the prince did not hint that she
looked as the picture of his great-grandmother looked. He thought
her all the more charming for that, but he did not tell her so. The
musicians played excellent but old music at supper. After supper the
prince and princess were married in the chapel of the castle.

The next day they left the castle. All the people followed them down the
long path. The wood opened again to let them through. Outside they met
the prince’s men, and glad they were to see the prince once more. He
turned to show them the castle, but there was no castle to be seen, and
no wood.

The prince and princess rode gayly away, and when the old king and queen
died, they reigned in their stead.



THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER

|On a warm day in summer, an Ant was busy in the field gathering grains
of wheat and corn, which he laid up for winter food. A Grasshopper saw
him at work, and laughed at him for toiling so hard, when others were at
ease.

[Illustration: 0113]

The Ant said nothing. But afterwards, when winter came, and the ground
was hard, the Grasshopper was nearly dead with hunger. He came to the Ant
to beg something to eat. Then the Ant said to him:--

“If you had worked when I did, instead of laughing at me, you would not
now be in need.”



THE LION AND THE FOX

|A Lion that had grown old, and had no more Strength to forage for food,
saw that he must get it by cunning. He went into his den and crept into
a corner, and made believe that he was very sick.

All the animals about came in to take a look at him, and, as they came,
he snapped them up. When a good many beasts had been caught in this way,
the Fox, who guessed his trick, came along. He took his stand a little
way from the den, and asked the Lion how he did.

[Illustration: 0114]

The Lion said he was very sick, and begged him to come into the den to
see him.

“So I would,” said the Fox, “but I notice that all the footprints point
into the den, and none point out.”



DICK WHITTINGTON AND HIS CAT


I. DICK GOES TO LONDON

|In the olden times there lived in the country, In England, a boy by the
name of Dick Whittington.

He did not know who his parents were, for he had been born and brought
up in the poor-house. There he was cruelly treated. When he was seven
years of age, he ran away and lived by what he could get from kind
people.

He heard that the streets of London were paved with gold. Being now a
sturdy youth, he set out for the city to make his fortune. He did not
know the way, but he fell in with a carter, who was bound for London,
and he followed the cart. When night came, he helped the carter by
rubbing down the horses, and for this he was paid with a supper.

He trudged on day after day, until they came to the famous city. The
carter was afraid Dick would hang about him and give him trouble. So he
gave him a penny and told him to begone and find some work.

Dick went from street to street, but he knew no one. He was ragged and
forlorn, and looked like a beggar. Nobody gave him anything to do.
Once in a while some one gave him something to eat, but at last he had
nothing.

For two days he went about hungry and almost starved, but he would
rather starve than steal. At the end of the second day he came to a
merchant’s house in Leadenhall Street, and stood before it, weary and
faint. The ill-natured cook saw him and came out and said:--

“Go away from here, or I will kick you away!” He crept off a little
distance and lay down on the ground, for he was too weak to stand. As he
lay there, the merchant who lived in the house came home, and stopped
to speak to him. He spoke sharply, and told him to get up, that it was a
shame for him to be lying there.

Poor Dick got up, and after falling once, through faintness and want of
food, made out to say that he was a poor country boy, nearly starved. He
would do any work if he might have food.

Mr. Fitzwarren, the merchant, took pity on him. He brought him into the
house, and bade the servants look after him. He gave him a place under
the cook, and this was the beginning of Dick’s fortune. But Dick had a
hard time of it. The servants made sport of him. The ill-natured cook
said:--

“Do you know what you are to do? You are to come under me. So look
sharp. Clean the spits and the pans, make the fires, wind up the
roasting-jack, and do nimbly all the dirty work I set you about, or
else I will break your head with my ladle, and kick you about like a
foot-ball.” This was cold comfort, but it was better than starving.
“What gave him more hope was the kind notice he had from his master’s
daughter, Mistress Alice. She heard Dick’s story from her father, and
called for the boy. She asked him questions, and he was so honest in his
answers, that she went to her father, and said:--

“That poor boy whom you brought into the house is a good, honest fellow.
I am sure he will be very useful. He can clean shoes, and run errands,
and do many things which our servants do not like to do.”


II. DICK’S CAT

|So Dick was kept, and a cot bed was given him in the garret. He was up
early and worked late. He left nothing undone that was given him to do.
For all that, he could not please the cook, who was very sour to him.
Still, he bore her blows rather than leave so good a home. Then the cook
told tales about him, and tried to get him sent away, but Mistress Alice
heard of it. She knew how ill-tempered the cook was, and so she made her
father keep Dick.

This was not the whole of Dick Whittington’s trouble. The garret where
he lay at night had long been empty, and a great number of mice had made
their home in it. They ran over Dick’s face, and kept up such a racket
that he knew not which was worse, the cook by day or the mice by night.

He could only hope that the cook might marry or get tired of the place,
and that he might in some way get a cat. It chanced, soon after, that a
merchant came to dinner, and as it rained hard, he stayed all night. In
the morning Dick cleaned the merchant’s shoes and brought them to his
door. For this service the merchant gave him a penny.

As he went through the street on an errand that morning, he saw a woman
with a cat under her arm. He asked her the price of the cat.

“It is a good mouser,” said the woman: “you may have it for a sixpence.”

“But I have only a penny,” said Dick. The woman found that she really
could get nothing more, so she sold the cat to Dick for a penny. He
brought it home, and kept it out of the way all day for fear the cook
would see it. At night he took the cat up to the garret, and made her
work for her living. Puss soon rid him of one plague.

When Mr. Fitzwarren sent out a ship to trade with far countries, he
used to call his servants together, and give each a chance to make some
money, by sending out goods in the ship. He thought that thus his ship
had better fortune.

Now he was again making a venture, and each of the servants brought
something to send; all but Whittington. Mistress Alice saw that he did
not come, and she sent for him, meaning to give him some simple goods,
that he too might have a share in the venture.

When, after many excuses, he was obliged to appear, he fell on his
knees, and prayed them not to jeer at a poor boy. He had nothing he
could claim for his own but a cat, which he had bought with a penny
given him for cleaning shoes.

Upon this Mistress Alice offered to lay something down for him. But her
father told her the custom was for each to send something of his own. So
he bade Dick bring his cat, which he did with many tears, and gave her
over to the master of the ship.

The cook, and indeed all the servants, after this plagued Dick, and
jeered at him so much for sending his cat, that he could bear it no
longer. He said to himself that he would leave the house and try his
fortune elsewhere.


III. BOW BELLS

|He packed his bundle one night, and the next day, early, set forth to
seek his fortune. He left the house behind him, but his heart began to
sink. However, he would not turn back, but kept on. At last he sat down
in the field to think.

Just then the Bow Bells, that is, the bells of a church in Bow Street,
began to ring merrily. Dick heard them, and as they rang, he fancied he
heard them sing,--

               “Turn again, Whittington,

               Lord Mayor of London.”

That was a fine song to hear, and Dick began to pluck up heart again.

[Illustration: 0121]

Still the bells rang. It was very early; no one was yet astir at the
merchant’s house, and Dick, with new courage, took up his bundle, obeyed
the bells, and walked quickly back to the house. He had left the door
open, so he crept in and took up his daily task. About this time, the
ship which carried Dick’s cat was driven by the winds, and came to a
place on the Barbary coast, where the English seldom went. The people
received the master of the ship well, and he traded with them. As
his wares were new, they were very welcome. At last the king of that
country, being greatly pleased, sent for the captain to come and dine at
the palace.

The dinner was not set on a table, but the cloth was laid on the floor,
as this was the custom of the country. The guests sat cross-legged
before the feast. But when the dishes were set down, the smell of the
dinner brought a great company of rats, and these rats helped themselves
without fear.

The master of the ship was amazed, and asked the nobles if it was not
very unpleasant to have this swarm of rats.

“Oh,” said they, “very much so. The king would give half his wealth to
be rid of them. They not only come to the table, but they make free with
his chamber and even his bed.”

“Well,” said the captain, thinking at once of Dick’s cat, “I have an
English beast on board my ship which will quickly clear the palace of
all the rats.”

“Say you so?” said the king, when he heard of this. “For such a thing I
will load your ship with gold, diamonds, and pearls.” At that the shrewd
captain made much of the cat.

“She is the most famous thing in the world,” said he. “I cannot spare
her, for she keeps my ship clear of rats, or else they would spoil all
my goods.” But the king would not take no for an answer.

“No price shall part us,” he said. So the cat was sent for, and the
table was again spread. The rats came as before, but the captain let the
cat loose, and she made short work of them. Then she came purring and
curling up her tail before the king, as if she would have her reward.

The king was so pleased with the cat, that he gave ten times more for
her than for all the goods in the ship. Then the ship sailed away with
a fair wind, and arrived safe at London. She was the richest ship that
ever entered port.


IV. LORD MAYOR WHITTINGTON

The master took the box of pearls and jewels with him on shore, and
went straight to the merchant’s house. He gave his account to Mr.
Fitz-warren, who was greatly pleased at the fortunate voyage, and called
his servants together, to receive their profit. Then the master showed
the box of pearls and jewels, and told the story of Whittington’s cat,
and how Puss had earned this wealth.

“Call Mr. Whittington,” said Mr. Fitzwarren. “I will not take one
farthing from him.”

Now Dick was in the kitchen cleaning pots and pans. When he was told
that the merchant had sent for “Mr. Whittington,” he thought every one
was making fun of him, and he would not go.

At last, he went as far as the door. The merchant bade him come in, and
placed a chair for him. At that poor Dick was sure they were making fun
of him, and the tears came into his eyes.

“I am only a simple fellow,” he said. “I do not mean harm to any one. Do
not mock me.”

“Indeed, Mr. Whittington, we are serious with you,” said the merchant.
“You are a much richer man than I am,” and he gave him the box of pearls
and jewels worth quite three hundred thousand pounds.

At first Dick could not believe his good fortune. When at last he was
persuaded, he fell upon his knees and thanked God who had been so good
to him. Then he turned to his master and wished to give him of his
wealth, but Mr. Fitzwarren said:--

“No, Mr. Whittington. I will not take a penny from you. It is all
yours.”

At that Dick turned to Mistress Alice, who also refused. He bowed low,
and said:--

“Madam, whenever you please to make choice of a husband, I will make you
the greatest fortune in the world.”

Then he gave freely to his fellow servants. Even to his enemy, the cook,
he gave a hundred pounds.

Richard Whittington was now a rich man. He laid aside his poor clothes,
and was dressed well and handsomely. He had grown strong and tall in
service, and was indeed a fine man to look upon.

He was well behaved and of a good mind and heart. Mr. Fitzwarren made
him known to the other merchants, and let him see how business was
carried on. Then, seeing that he was as honest and good as he was rich,
he told Whittington that he might have his daughter in marriage.

At first, Dick felt himself unworthy of Mistress Alice. But he saw that
she looked kindly on him, and he remembered how good she had been to
him from the beginning. So he made bold to ask Mistress Alice to be his
wife, and they had a grand wedding.

After the wedding was over, Mr. Fitzwarren asked him what he meant to
do, and Mr. Whittington said he would like to be a merchant. So the two
became partners, and grew to be very rich.

Rich as he was, this merchant never forgot that he was once poor Dick
Whittington. The promise of Bow Bells came true, and three times he was
chosen Lord Mayor of London. He fed the hungry, and cared for the poor.

When he was Lord Mayor of London the third time, it was his duty to
receive King Henry V and his queen at Guildhall, which was the Mayor’s
palace. It was just after a famous war with France, which England had
won.

The king, at the feast, made the lord mayor a knight, so that now he was
Sir Richard Whittington. There was a very pleasant fire on the hearth at
the time. It was made of choice wood. Mace and other spices were mixed
with the wood. The king praised the fire, and Sir Richard said,--“I will
make it still more pleasant.” At that he threw upon the flames one piece
of paper after another. They were the written promises of the king, to
pay back money lent to him by London merchants, when he was carrying on
the war. Sir Richard had bought them for sixty thousand pounds. That was
the way he paid the king’s debt, for now there was nothing to show that
the king owed anything.

This is the story of Dick Whittington and his cat. How much is true,
and how much was made up, I do not know, for what happened took place
five hundred years ago.



THE CAT, THE MONKEY, AND THE CHESTNUTS

|A Cat and a Monkey were sitting one day by the hearth, watching some
chestnuts which their master had laid down to roast. The chestnuts had
begun to burst with the heat, and the Monkey said to the Cat:--

“It is plain that your paws were made to pull out those chestnuts. Your
paws are, indeed, exactly like our master’s hands.”

The Cat was greatly flattered by this speech, and reached forward for
the tempting chestnuts. Scarcely had she touched the hot ashes than she
drew back with a cry, for she had burned her paw. She tried again, and
made out to get one chestnut. Then she pulled another, and a third,
though each time she singed the hair on her paws.

When she could pull no more, she turned, and found the Monkey had taken
this time to crack the chestnuts and eat them.



THE LARK AND HER YOUNG ONES

[Illustration: 0128]

|There was a brood of young Larks in a field of corn, which was just
ripe. The mother, looking every day for the reapers, left word, whenever
she went out in search of food, that her young ones should tell her all
the news they heard.

One day, when she was absent, the master came to look at his field. “It
is time,” said he, “to call in my neighbors and get my corn reaped.”
 When the old Lark came home, the young ones told their mother what they
had heard, and begged her to move them at once.

“Time enough,” said she. “If he trusts to his neighbors, he will have to
wait awhile yet for his harvest.”

Next day, the owner came again, and found the sun hotter, the corn
riper, and nothing done.

“There is not an hour to be lost,” said he. “We cannot depend upon our
neighbors. We must call in our relations.” Turning to his son, he said,
“Go, call your uncles and cousins; and see that they begin to-morrow.”

The young Larks, in great fear, told their mother what the farmer had
said. “If that be all,” said she, “do not be frightened. The relations
have harvest work of their own. But take notice of what you hear next
time, and be sure to let me know.”

She went abroad the next day, and the owner coming, and finding the
grain falling to the ground because it was over ripe, said to his
eon, “We must wait no longer for our neighbors and friends. Do you
go to-night and hire some reapers, and we will set to work ourselves
tomorrow.”

When the young Larks told their mother this,

“Then,” said she, “it is time for us to be off. When a man takes up his
business himself, instead of leaving it to others, you may be sure that
he means to set to work in earnest.”



THE FLIES AND THE POT OF HONEY

|A Pot of Honey was upset in the pantry, and the Flies crowded about
to eat of it. It was so sticky that they could not get away. Their feet
were held fast, so that they could not fly, and they began to choke to
death.

“What wretches we are,” they cried, “to die just for a moment of
pleasure!”

So it is that greediness is the cause of many evils.



BEAUTY AND THE BEAST


I. BEAUTY AND HER SISTERS

|There was once a rich merchant who had six children, three sons and
three daughters. He loved them more than he loved all his riches, so
that he was always seeking to make them happy and wise.

The daughters were very pretty; but the youngest was more than
pretty--she was beautiful. As every one called her Little Beauty when
she was a child, and she became more lovely every year, the name grew up
with her, so that she had no other than just--Beauty.

Now Beauty was as good as she was beautiful. But her elder sisters were
ill-natured and jealous of her, and could not bear to hear her called
Beauty. They were very proud, too, of their father’s riches, and put on
great airs. They would not visit the daughters of other merchants, but
were always following persons who had titles, Lady This and Duchess
That. They laughed at Beauty, who lived quietly at home with their
father.

The father was so rich that many great merchants wished to marry his
daughters. But the two eldest always said that they could never think of
marrying anybody below a duke, or at the least an earl. As for Beauty,
she thanked her lovers for thinking so well of her, but as she was still
very young, she wished to live a few years longer with her father.

Now it happened that the merchant all at once lost his great wealth.
Nothing was left but one small house in the country, and there the poor
man told his children they must now go, and earn their daily bread.

The two eldest daughters said they need not go, for they had plenty of
lovers who would be glad enough to marry them, even though they had lost
their fortune. But they were wrong, for their lovers would not look at
them now, and jeered at them in their trouble, because they had been so
proud before.

Yet every one felt sorry for Beauty. Several gentlemen who loved her
begged her still to let them marry her, though she had not a penny.
Beauty refused, and said she could not leave her father now that trouble
had come upon him.

So the family went to live in the small house in the country. There the
merchant and his three sons ploughed and sowed the fields, and worked
hard all day. Beauty rose at four o’clock every morning, put the house
in order, and got breakfast for the whole family. It was very hard at
first, for no one helped her. But every day it grew easier to work, and
Beauty grew stronger and rosier. When her work was done, she could read,
or play on her harp, or sit at her spinning-wheel, singing as she spun.

As for her two sisters, they were idle and unhappy, and became quite
helpless. They never got up till ten o’clock. They spent the day moping
and fretting, because they no longer had fine clothes to wear, and could
not go to fine parties. They jeered at Beauty, and said that she was
nothing but a servant-girl after all, to like that kind of living. But
Beauty did not mind them, and lived on cheerfully.

They had been in the country a year, when one morning the merchant had a
letter. It brought the news that a ship laden with rich goods belonging
to him had not been lost after all, and had just come into port. The
two sisters were half wild with joy, for now they could soon leave the
farm-house, and go back to the gay city.

When their father was about to go to the port to settle his business
there, they begged him to bring back all manner of fine things for them.

Then the merchant asked Beauty:--

“And what shall I bring you, Beauty?” for Beauty had yet asked nothing.

“Why, since you ask me, dear father, I should like you to bring me a
rose, for none grow in these parts.” Now Beauty did not care so very
much for a rose, but she did not like to seem to blame her sisters,
or to appear better than they, by saying that she did not wish for
anything.

The good man set off; but all was not as he had hoped. The ship had
come in, but there was a dispute about the cargo. He went to law, and it
ended in his turning back poorer than when he left his home.


II. THE BEAST AT HOME

|He set out to return to the farm-house. When he was within thirty miles
of home, he came to a large wood through which he must pass. The snow
began to fall, and covered the path. The night closed in, and it grew
so dark and so cold that the poor man gave himself up for lost. He could
not see the way, and he was faint with cold and hunger.

All at once, he saw a light at the end of a long avenue of trees. He
turned into the avenue, and rode until he came to the end of it. There
he found a great palace; the windows were all lighted, and the door
stood open, but he saw no one.

The door of the stable was also open, and his horse walked in. A crib
full of hay and oats was there, and the tired beast fell to eating
heartily. The merchant left his horse in the stall and entered the
palace. He saw nobody and heard nobody, but a fire was burning on the
hearth, and a table was spread with choice food, and set for one person.
He was wet to the skin, and went to the fire to dry himself, saying:--

“I hope the master of the house or his servants will not blame me for
this. No doubt some one will soon come.”

He waited, but no one came. The clock struck eleven. Then, faint for
want of food, he went to the table and ate some meat, yet all the time
in a great fright. But when he was no longer hungry, he began to pluck
up courage, and to look about him.

The clock struck twelve. He left the hall, and passed through one room
after another until he came to one where there was a bed. It was made
ready, and, since he was very tired, he lay down and slept soundly.

The merchant did not wake until ten o’clock the next morning. He had
placed his clothes on a chair by the side of the bed. They had been
nearly ruined by the storm, and were besides old and worn. Now he saw a
wholly new suit in their place.

He began to think he must be in the palace of some fairy, and he was
sure of it when he looked out of the window. The snow had gone, and a
lovely garden lay before him, full of flowers. He dressed and went back
to the hall. A table was spread for breakfast, and he at once sat down
to it. Then he went to get his horse. On the way he passed some roses.
He remembered Beauty, and plucked a rose to take home with him.

As soon as he had done this, he heard a frightful roar, and saw a
dreadful Beast coming toward him. He was so frightened that he nearly
fell down. The Beast cried out in a loud voice:--

“Ungrateful man! I saved your life by letting you come into my palace.
I gave you food to eat and a bed to rest in, and now you steal my roses,
which I love beyond everything. You shall pay for this with your life!”
 The poor man threw himself on his knees before the Beast, saying:--

“Forgive me, my lord. I did not know I was doing wrong. I only wanted to
pluck a rose for one of my daughters. She asked me to bring one home to
her. I pray you, do not kill me, my lord.”

“I am not a lord. I am a Beast. I hate soft words, and you will not
catch me by any of your fine speeches. You say you have daughters.
Well, I will forgive you, if one of them will come and die in your
stead. But promise that, if they refuse, you will come back in three
months.”

The merchant did not mean in the least to let one of his daughters die
for him. But he wished to see his children once more before he died, so
he promised to return if one of his daughters would not die for him. The
Beast then told him to go back to the room where he had slept. There
he would find a chest. He might fill it with anything he found in the
palace, and it would be sent after him.


III. BEAUTY GOES TO THE BEAST

The merchant did as he was bid. The floor of the room was covered with
gold, and he filled the chest. If he must die, he would at least provide
for his children. Then he took his horse and rode out of the wood,
and came at last to his home. He held the rose in his hand, and as the
daughters came out to meet him, he gave it to the youngest, saying:--

“Take it, Beauty. You little know what it has cost your poor father;”
 and then he told all that had happened since he left home.

The two eldest daughters began to cry aloud, and to blame Beauty. Why
did she ask for roses? Why did she not ask for dresses, as they did;
then all would have gone well. Now the hard-hearted thing, they said,
did not shed a tear. Beauty replied quietly that it was of little use to
weep. She meant to go and die in her father’s stead.

“No, no!” cried the three brothers. “We will go and seek this Beast, and
either he or we must die!”

“It is all in vain,” said the father. “You do not know the Beast. He
is more mighty than you can think. No! you must stay and care for
your sisters. At the end of three months I shall go back and die.” The
merchant then went to his room, and there he found the chest of gold.

He was greatly amazed. He had forgotten the promise of the Beast. But
he said nothing about the chest to his daughters. He was sure they would
tease him to go back to town to live.

Beauty said little, but when the three months were over, she made ready
to go with her father. The brothers and sisters bade them good-by, and
wept over Beauty. The brothers wept real tears, but the sisters rubbed
their eyes with onions, so as to make tears; they did not really care.

The horse took the right road, as if he knew the way, and when he came
to the palace, he went at once to the stable. The merchant and Beauty
entered the palace. They found the table spread for two persons, and
they sat down to it.

After supper there was a great roar as before, and the Beast entered.
Beauty trembled, and the Beast turned to her and said:--

“Did you come of your own self?”

“Yes,” said Beauty, still trembling.

“Then I thank you. But you, sir,” and he turned to the father, “get
you gone to-morrow, and never let me see your face again. Goodnight,
Beauty.”

“Good-night, Beast,” she replied, and Beast walked off. The merchant
begged and begged his daughter to leave him, and to go back to her home.
But she was firm, and when the morning came, she made him leave her.

“Surely,” he thought, “Beast will not hurt Beauty.”

Beauty wept, but she was a brave girl, and soon she dried her eyes, and
began to walk through the palace. She came to a door, and over it was
written Beauty’s Room. She opened the door, and found herself in a fine
chamber, with books, music and a harp, and many beautiful things.

“It cannot be that I have only a day to live,” she said, “for why should
all this be done for me?” She opened a book and saw written in letters
of gold: _Your wishes and commands shall be obeyed. You are here the
queen over everything_.

“Alas!” she thought, “I wish most of all I could see my father and know
what he is doing.” Just then her eyes fell on a large looking-glass,
and in it she saw her father just reaching home. Her sisters came out
to meet him. They tried to look sad, but it was plain that they were not
sorry to see him come home alone.

The sight in the glass was only for a moment, then it faded, and Beauty
turned away and in her mind thanked Beast for what he had done.

At noon she found dinner ready for her, and sweet music sounded as she
ate. But she saw nobody. At night Beast came and asked leave to sup with
her. Of course she could not say no, but she sat in a fright all through
supper. He did not speak for some time. Then he said:--

“Beauty, do you think me very ugly?”

“Yes, Beast; I cannot tell a lie. But I think you are very good.”
 Nothing more was said, and Beauty was beginning to be rid of her fear,
when all at once he asked:--

“Beauty, will you marry me?” Beauty was in a fright again, but she
answered:--

“No, Beast.” He gave a great sigh which shook the house. Then he got up
from the table and said:--

“Good-night, Beauty,” and went away. Beauty was glad he had gone, but
she could not help pitying him.


IV. THE CHARM IS BROKEN

|Beauty lived in this way three months. The Beast came to supper every
night. He did not grow less ugly, but Beauty did not mind his ugliness
so much, for she saw how kind he really was. But there was one trouble.
Every night the Beast was sure to ask:--

“Will you marry me, Beauty?” and Beauty always answered:--

“No, Beast.”

But one night he begged her at least never to leave him. Now it chanced
on that very day Beauty had looked in her glass. There she saw her
father sick with grief, for he thought his child was dead. Her sisters
were married. Her brothers were soldiers. So she told all this to the
Beast, and wept and said she should die if she could not see her father
once more.

“Do not refuse to let me go!” she begged.

“No,” said the Beast. “I will not refuse you. I would much rather your
poor Beast should die of grief for your absence. So you may go.”

“Oh, thank you, dear Beast,” said Beauty, “and I will surely come back
in a week.”

“When you wish to come back, Beauty, lay your ring on the table
before you go to bed, and you will find yourself here when you wake.
Good-night, Beauty.”

“Good-night, Beast.”

The next morning Beauty woke to find herself at the farm-house. Her
father was so glad to see her once more, and to know she was alive and
well, that his sickness left him at once. He sent for her sisters, who
came and brought their husbands.

These husbands were not much to be praised. One was so vain that he
looked at himself, and seldom looked at his wife. The other had a sharp
tongue, and liked to use it on other people, and most of all on his own
wife. So the sisters were no happier than they had been.

But they were still jealous of Beauty, and they laid a plan for her
hurt. They thought if they could keep her at home after the week was
over, the Beast would be so angry, he would soon make an end of her. So,
at the end of the week, they made a great ado, and begged her to stay
just a little longer. Beauty could not help being glad to have her
sisters want her. She said she would stay one week more; but she was not
quite easy in her mind.

On the night of the tenth day the sisters gave her a feast, in order
to make her forget the Beast. But at night Beauty dreamed she saw poor
Beast lying half dead on the grass in the palace garden. She woke in
tears, and at once laid her ring on the table, and then went to sleep
again.

When she awoke, she was once more in her room at the palace. All day
she wished for supper time to come. Then she would see Beast again. But
supper time came, and no Beast was at the table. Nine o’clock struck,
and still Beast did not come.

[Illustration: 0143]

Beauty flew into the garden. She went to the spot she had dreamed of,
and there lay poor Beast on the grass. She felt his heart beat. He was
still alive. She ran for some water and threw it on his face. The Beast
opened his eyes and said in a faint voice:--

“You forgot your promise. I could not live without you, and I meant to
starve to death. Now you have come, and I shall die happy.”

“No! you shall not die, dear Beast,” cried Beauty. “You shall live to be
my husband, for now I feel I really love you.”

At these words the whole palace was ablaze with light. Music sounded,
and there was a stir all about. There was no Beast, but in his place a
very handsome prince was at Beauty’s feet.

“You have broken the charm that held me,” he said.

“But where is my poor Beast?” asked Beauty, weeping. “I want my dear
Beast.”

“I was the Beast,” said the Prince. “A wicked fairy had power to make
me live in that ugly form, till some good and beautiful maid should be
found, so good as to love me in spite of my ugliness.”

Beauty was amazed, but she took the Prince’s hand and they went into the
palace. The people of the country were full of joy. They had mourned for
their Prince, and now he had suddenly come back again, and with him
was a beautiful princess. So Beauty and the Beast, who was no longer a
Beast, reigned happily in the kingdom.



THE WOLF AND THE LAMB

[Illustration: 0147]

|A Wolf saw a Lamb drinking at a brook, and set about finding some good
reason for catching him. So he went to a place a little higher up the
brook, and called out:--

“How dare you muddle the water that I am drinking?”

“How can I,” said the Lamb, humbly, “when I drink with the tips of my
lips only? And, besides, the water runs from you to me, not from me to
you.”

“Well, you called my father names a year ago,” said the Wolf, finding
another reason.

“I was not born a year ago,” said the poor lamb.

“You may make ever so good excuses,” said the Wolf, finally; “I shall
eat you all the same.”

This fable teaches that, when one has made up his mind to do wrong, he
is not stopped by the best of reasons.



THE TRAVELERS AND THE BEAR

|Two friends were walking along the road, when a Bear came suddenly upon
them.

One of them got first to a tree, and climbed up into it and hid among
the branches.

The other, who was slower, fell flat upon the ground, and made believe
that he was dead.

When the Bear came up to him, and poked him with his nose, he held his
breath; for it is said that this animal will not touch a dead man. The
Bear went off, and the Man who was in the tree came down, and asked the
other what the Bear had whispered.

“He told me,” said the other, “not to travel with friends who would
desert me when danger came.”

This fable teaches that misfortunes sometimes show which Of our friends
are true friends.



THE TORTOISE AND THE EAGLE

[Illustration: 0149]

|A Tortoise, seeing an Eagle in flight, wanted much to fly like him. So
she asked him if he would not teach her to fly.

He told her that it was impossible; that Tortoises could not fly. All
the more did she urge him; so at last the Eagle seized her in his claws,
bore her to a great height, and then, letting her go, bade her fly.

She fell like a stone to the earth, and the blow knocked the breath out
of her body.

This fable teaches that men who are envious, and refuse to take the
advice of those who know more than themselves, are apt to get into
trouble.



THE WHITE CAT


I. THE PALACE OF THE WHITE CAT

|A King had three sons, handsome, brave, and generous. Some persons
about the court, however, made him believe that these sons were eager to
have him die, because each wanted to be king. This was not at all true,
but the King believed it, and made a plan to get them out of the way. He
sent for them and said:--

“My dear sons, you must see that I am growing old, and cannot attend to
state affairs as I once used to. It is right that I should make one of
you king in my stead. But first I should like something to amuse me when
I am no longer king. I think I should like best a little dog. Now, the
one of you who brings me the most perfect little dog shall be king in my
stead.”

The princes were much surprised at the fancy of their father to have
a little dog, but they all agreed to do as he had asked. They bade him
good-by, and promised to come back in a year. They went off together
to an old palace three miles away. There they had something to eat, and
then set off on separate roads. But they agreed to meet again at the
palace at the end of the year.

Now, we will see what happened to the youngest of the three brothers.
He went from town to town looking for handsome dogs. He bought one, and
then, when he found a handsomer dog, he bought that and gave the other
away.

At last he found himself in a wood. Night came on, and it began to rain.
There were thunder and lightning, and he lost his way. He groped about
and saw a light in the distance. He went toward it, and soon was in
front of a fine palace.

The door to the palace was of gold, studded with sapphires, and these
shone with a bright light. This was the light the Prince had seen.
The walls of the palace were of fine china, and there were wonderful
paintings upon them. These paintings showed the adventures of all the
fairies from the beginning of the world.

The Prince saw a deer’s foot hanging by the side of the door. It was
hung at the end of a chain of diamonds, and was plainly a bell-pull. He
was greatly astonished, for he saw no one, and he wondered that thieves
had not long ago stolen the diamonds and the sapphires.

He pulled the deer’s foot and heard a bell ring. Soon the golden door
opened. He saw nobody, but he saw twelve Hands in the air, each holding
a torch. He looked and did not know what to do. Then he felt himself
gently pushed from behind, so he walked on into the palace. There he
heard a voice singing:--

               “Welcome, Prince, no danger fear,

               Mirth and love attend you here.”

The Hands with the torches led him through one door after another,
into one room after another. Each room was more splendid than the last.
Finally the Hands drew a chair near a fire, and beckoned him to sit
down.

The Hands he saw were white and fair. They took away his wet clothes,
and brought him new fine linen, and a warm wrapper in which he sat
before the fire. Then they placed before him a glass upon a stand,
and began to comb and brush his hair gently. They brought a bowl with
perfumed water in it, and washed his face and hands.

Now the Prince was fresh and warm, and the Hands gave him a princely
suit of clothes. When he was dressed, they led him out of the chamber to
a grand hall. Here a table was set with rich and dainty food. Two plates
were on the table, and the Prince wondered who was to eat with him.


II. A YEAR OF SPORT

|Just then he looked up and saw a small figure coming toward him. It was
covered with a long black veil, and was not more than a foot high. On
each side walked a cat dressed in black, and behind came a great number
of cats, some carrying cages full of rats, and others mouse-traps filled
with mice.

The Prince did not know what to think. The little figure drew near, and
drew aside her veil. It was a cat, a beautiful White Cat, but looking
sad and gentle. She said to the Prince:--

“You are welcome, Prince. It makes me glad to have you come.”

“Madam,” said the Prince, “I thank you for all your goodness to me.
I cannot help thinking you must be a wonderful being, to have this
beautiful palace, to be able to speak, and yet to be a cat!”

“That is true,” said the Cat, “but I do not like to talk, and I do not
like to hear fine things said to me. Let us sit down to supper.”

The Hands then placed some dishes on the table, in front of the Prince
and the White Cat.

The Prince had a pie made of young pigeons, but the White Cat had one
made of fat mice. The Prince at first did not like to touch his food.
He was not quite sure what it was, but the White Cat told him not to be
afraid. The dishes before him had no bit of rat or mouse in them.

When supper was over, the Prince noticed that the White Cat carried a
little picture hung by a cord upon one of her feet. He asked to look at
it. It was a portrait of a young man. To his great surprise, it was his
own likeness.

He did not ask the White Cat to explain this, for she had a look which
forbade him. They talked together about many things, and then the White
Cat bade the Prince good-night. The Hands, with torches, led him to his
chamber, and there he slept.

He was waked in the morning by a noise outside. He got up, and the Hands
brought him a handsome hunting-jacket. The noise kept on, and he looked
out of the window. There he saw more than five hundred cats in the open
space before the palace. They were making ready for a hunt.

The White Cat soon came and asked him to join their sport, and he was
given a wooden horse to ride on. The White Cat mounted a monkey. She
wore a dragoon’s cap, which made her look very bold and fierce.

The horns sounded, and away they went. The cats ran faster than the
hares and rabbits, and when they caught any, they brought them to the
Prince and the White Cat. They chased birds as well as rabbits. Up the
trees they went, and the White Cat on the monkey climbed more quickly
than any, and mounted the highest trees, to the eagle’s nest.

When the chase was over, they all went back to the palace. The White Cat
sat down at the table with the Prince, and they had a fine supper. Again
the Hands led the Prince to his chamber, and he slept soundly.

So it went on day after day. Every day there was some new pleasure,
and the White Cat was so gentle, so sweet, and so thoughtful, that the
Prince could not bear to think of leaving the palace.

“How can I go away from you?” he cried one day. “Can you not make me a
cat to live here always? or, can you not make yourself a lady?” But the
White Cat only smiled, and made no answer.

At last a year had almost gone. The White Cat knew what day the Prince
must return to his father, and told him that he had but three days left.

“Alas!” said the Prince. “What shall I do? I have not yet found a dog
small enough.”

“Never fear,” said the White Cat. “I will see that you have a dog, and
I will also give you a wooden horse, so that you can ride home in a few
hours.”

When the day came, the White Cat gave the Prince an acorn, and told
him to put it close to his ear. He did so, and could hear a little dog
barking inside the acorn. He was delighted, and thanked the White Cat a
thousand times.


III. THE LITTLE DOG AND THE CAMBRIC

|The Prince mounted his wooden horse, and soon was at the place where
he was to meet his brothers. The two eldest told their stories. The
youngest kept silence, and showed only a cheap cur. The brothers trod on
each other’s toes under the table, as much as to say, “We have nothing
to fear from this dog.”

The next day they all went to the palace. The dogs of the two elder
brothers were brought in on soft rugs; they were wrapped about in silk
quilts, and it was hard to see anything of them. However, the King
looked at each, and could not make up his mind which was the smaller and
prettier. So the two princes began to quarrel.

At this the youngest son came forward. Nobody had looked at his cur,
but now he showed them his acorn. He broke the shell, and out jumped
a little dog. He held his finger ring, and the dog leaped through it.
There was no doubt now who had the smallest and prettiest dog.

The King could not possibly find any fault with the dog, but he could
not bear to give up his crown yet. So he thanked his sons for their
trouble, and asked them to try once more. He wished them to be gone a
year, and at the end of that time to bring him a fine piece of cambric.
It must be fine enough to be drawn through the eye of a small needle.

The three princes thought this very hard, but they set off as before.
The two eldest took different roads. The youngest mounted his wooden
horse, and quickly came to the palace of the White Cat. There he was
received with great joy. The Hands helped him to dismount, and the table
was spread before him. The best food was given him, and the White Cat
sat opposite. He told her what a hard task his father had set.

“Do not be troubled,” she said. “I have cats in my palace who can make
just such cambric. So be at ease and enjoy yourself.”

The Prince knew how to enjoy himself. He talked with the White Cat about
all sorts of things, and they hunted together. And when he was alone,
he could think about the White Cat, and what she said last. Oh, yes, he
knew how to enjoy himself.

Thus another year went by. At the end of the year the White Cat said to
the Prince:--

“This time you must go in state.”

Then he saw in the yard a splendid carriage, covered with gold and
diamonds. Twelve horses as white as snow were harnessed to it, and
a troop of horsemen was ready to ride behind and by the side of the
carriage. The White Cat bade the Prince good-by, and gave him a walnut.

“In this nut,” she said, “is the cambric. But you must not open the nut
till you come before the King.”

Away went the horses, and carried the Prince in a twinkling to the
King’s palace. His two brothers were already there. They all went into
the King’s presence, and the eldest brought out his piece of cambric.
No one had ever seen anything so fine. The King took the needle. The
tip end of the cambric went through the eye, but the piece could not be
pulled further.

The second son tried, but his piece failed also. Then the youngest
Prince came forward with an elegant box, covered with jewels. He opened
the box and took out the walnut. He smiled, and looked about, and
cracked the shell. Then he looked sober. There was no cambric there,
only a filbert.

However, he cracked the shell of the filbert. Out came a cherry-stone.
He looked more serious still. The brothers and the lords of the court
began to laugh. What could be more silly than this Prince with his
cherry-stone!

The Prince now cracked the cherry-stone, and took out the kernel. He
split it, and found a grain of wheat; he opened the grain of wheat, and
there was a grain of millet-seed. All the court was now laughing. The
Prince grew red in the face and muttered:--

“O White Cat, White Cat, you have deceived me.”

When he said this, he felt a scratch on his arm. He saw nothing, but it
was just as if a cat scratched him. That brought him to his senses.
He opened the millet-seed very carefully, and drew forth a piece of
cambric. It was four hundred yards long, and was so fine that it was
easily drawn through the eye of the needle.

The King could ask nothing more. But he was not ready to give up his
crown, so he said to his sons:--

“You have done nobly. Now one of you must be king. But it will not
do for one to be king without a queen. So go away and find the most
beautiful woman in the world. At the end of the year come back. The
one who brings the most beautiful woman shall marry her and have my
kingdom.”


IV. THE WHITE CAT HAS HER HEAD CUT OFF

|The three brothers set off again on their travels, and the youngest
rode straight to the palace of the White Cat. He could not bear to speak
or think of his errand. He was so happy, however, with the White Cat
that he quite forgot everything for another year. At the end of that
time, the “White Cat herself reminded him what he had to do.

“You must now go back to your father, but you shall take with you a
beautiful princess. Cut off my head and my tail, and throw them into the
fire.”

“I!” said the Prince. “I cut off your head and tail! How can I, when I
love you so?”

“You must. That is the way to prove your love. If you love me, do as I
bid you.”

The Prince looked at the White Cat. Her eyes said the same thing to him.
He took his sword, and did as she bade him. No sooner had he done this
than the White Cat was gone, and a beautiful princess stood before him.
At the same moment the room was full of maids and gentlemen. All the
cats were gone. The Prince was astonished. The beautiful princess sent
away all the people, and then told the story of her life to the Prince.


V. THE WHITE CAT’S STORY

“Do not think I have always been a cat. My father was a king, and had
six kingdoms. He loved my mother dearly, and let her do just as she
wished. She liked best to travel and to see new sights. One day she
heard of a distant country where the fairies had a garden, and in this
garden was the most delicious fruit ever eaten.

“She wished at once to taste this fruit, and so she set off for the
country. She came to a noble palace and knocked at the gate. No one came
out. She waited. No one appeared anywhere in sight. But over the garden
wall she saw the fruit.

“My mother bade her servants pitch her tent close by the gate. There she
stayed six weeks. Yet she saw no one go in or out. She was so vexed and
so disappointed that at the end of six weeks she fell sick.

“One night, when she was almost dead, she opened her eyes and saw an old
woman, small and ugly. It was one of the fairies who owned the garden.
This old woman was sitting in a chair by the bed, and spoke to my
mother.

“‘Why do you come here for our fruit?’ she asked. ‘My sisters and I do
not like it at all. We did not mean you should have any. But now you are
very ill, and we do not want you to die here; you may have all you want,
if you will give us what we ask and then go away.’

“‘Oh,’ said my mother,’ I will give you everything I have, to the half
of my kingdom, if you will only give me the fruit.’

“‘Very well. You will have a child. When the child is born, give her to
us. We will take care of her, and she shall be a beautiful princess.’

“‘That is pretty hard,’ said my mother, ‘but I must have the fruit, or I
shall die. So the child shall be yours.’

“Then my mother rose and dressed, and went into the garden. Here she ate
her fill. Besides, she ordered four thousand mules to be loaded with the
fruit, for it was of a kind that would never spoil. Thus she traveled
back to my father. He was overjoyed to see her, and she said nothing of
the promise she had given.

“By and by, however, she grew sad, and my father asked her what
troubled her. Then she told him the whole story. At first he was greatly
troubled, but he began to think how he should prevent the fairies from
getting his child.

“As soon as I was born he had me taken to the top of a high tower. There
were twenty flights of stairs leading up to the room in which I was
placed. A door was at the foot of each flight, and was locked, and my
father kept the key. He did not mean that any one should get at me.

“When the fairies heard of this, they were very angry. They sent forth a
great dragon, and the dragon breathed forth fire, and burnt up the grass
and trees. It was very fierce, too, and killed men, women, and children.
So my father was filled with dismay, and sent word that the fairies
should have me.”


VI. THE WHITE CAT’S STORY ENDED

|I was placed in a cradle of mother-of-pearl, and carried to the palace
by the garden where my mother had eaten the fruit. The dragon at once
disappeared, and all went well in my father’s kingdom.

“The fairies gave me a room in a tower, and I had everything I could
ask. Here I grew up. I knew nothing of my father or mother. The fairies
came to see me, but they rode the dragon, and flew in at the window. You
must know there was no door to the tower. There were windows, high up
from the ground, and there was a garden upon the top of the tower.

“The fairies were very kind to me, and all went well. I played in the
garden on the tower, and I had my birds and flowers. But one day I
was sitting at one of the windows talking with my parrot, when I saw a
fine-looking man below. He stood listening to the parrot and me.

“I never had seen a man except in pictures, and I was very glad to see
this one. We spoke to each other through the window, and so it went on
day after day. At last I thought I could not bear to live alone in the
tower, and I planned to escape.

“I begged the fairies to bring me some cord and needles, to make a net
with. There were birds flying about, and if I had a net I could catch
one. They gave me these things, and I made a ladder which reached from
my window to the ground.

“I meant to climb down the ladder, but before I could do so my lover had
climbed up. He leaped in at my window. At first I was frightened, but
then I was glad to have him with me. He gave me a picture of himself,
but while we were talking the fairy Violent flew in at the window on the
back of the dragon. She was in a great rage, and bade the dragon at once
devour my lover.

“I tried to cast myself into the mouth of the dragon, for I no longer
cared to live. But the fairy held me back, and said she had another
punishment for me. She touched me with her wand, and I became at once a
White Cat.

“She brought me to this palace, and gave me a troop of cats to wait on
me. They were lords and ladies who had been turned into cats. The Hands
were the hands of servants who could not be seen. Here I was to stay a
cat until a prince should come who looked exactly like my lover, and who
should cut off my head and my tail.

“My Prince, look at this picture. It is your exact image. You have saved
me from the fairies, and I love you with all my heart.”

The Prince was overjoyed. He made haste to set out for his father’s
palace with the beautiful princess. Again the brothers stood before the
King, each with a beautiful princess. The King was now at his wit’s
end, but the princess, who had lately been a White Cat, came forward and
said:--

“O King, it is a thousand pities that you should give up your kingdom.
You are not old. You are very wise, and ought to reign many years. I
have six kingdoms. Let me give one to each of your two eldest sons. Then
the youngest son and I will still have four kingdoms. More than all, you
will not have to decide which of us three princesses is the most
beautiful.” Everybody set up a shout. The three weddings took place at
once, and the kingdoms were divided among the princes.



THE LION, THE ASS, AND THE FOX

[Illustration: 0167]

|The Lion, the Ass, and the Fox made a bargain to hunt together. When
they had caught a good supply of game, they came to eat it, and the Lion
bade the Ass divide the spoils. So the Ass divided it into three equal
parts, and called on each to choose his portion. At that the Lion fell
into a rage, and made his supper off the Ass.

Then the Lion told the Fox to divide it, and he put almost all the
game into one great heap for the Lion, and saved only a small bit for
himself. Then the Lion said: “My good fellow, who taught you to divide
so well?” And the Fox said: “That dead Ass there.”



THE JACKDAW AND THE DOVES

|A Jackdaw once looked into a dove-cote, and saw the Doves well fed and
cared for; so he went away and daubed himself white, and then came back
to make himself one of them. As long as he kept quiet they let him stay,
thinking he was a Dove. But as soon as he opened his mouth to sing, they
found out who he was, and drove him out of the dove-cote.

He, poor fellow, now went back to the Jackdaws. But they did not know
him on account of his white coat, and would not let him join them.

And so, for wanting to get into two companies, he missed both.

This fable teaches that it is best for us to be content with our own
kind. The greedy not only miss what they seek, but often lose what they
have.



THE FOUR BULLS AND THE LION

|Four Bulls once agreed to live together, and they fed in the same
pasture. Now the Lion saw them afar off, and wanted to hunt them, but he
knew that he could not so long as they held together.

So he managed to set them quarreling with one another; and when that
happened, they separated, and he easily mastered them one at a time.



THE COUNTRY MAID AND HER MILK-PAIL

|A Country Maid was walking slowly along with a pail of milk upon her
head. She was saying to herself:--

“The money for which I shall sell this milk will buy me three hundred
eggs. These eggs will produce at least two hundred and fifty chickens.
The chickens will be fit to carry to market about Christmas, when
poultry always brings a good price. By May-day I shall have money enough
to buy a new gown. Let me see--green suits me; yes, it shall be green.
In this dress I will go to the fair, where all the young fellows will
want me for a partner. But I shall refuse every one of them.” By this
time she was so full of her fancy that she tossed her head proudly. Over
went the pail, and all the milk was spilled on the ground.

Moral. Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched.



THE CAT, THE WEASEL, AND THE YOUNG RABBIT

|There was once a young Rabbit, a quiet, peace-loving Rabbit. He lived
in a neat house, and made no trouble for any one. But one day he went
to market to buy some parsley. A Weasel came slyly by and saw the little
house. He slipped in and made himself at home. It was a good place to
stay in, and there he meant to stay. By and by the Rabbit came home, and
saw the Weasel at the window.

“Do you know that this is my house?” the Rabbit asked.

“Pooh, pooh!” said the Weasel, “what makes it yours? You only dug in the
ground a little, and came in here where the earth was gone. Do you think
you own the earth?”

“The law gives it to me,” said the Rabbit, “because I made it fit to
live in. If you do not leave, I will call the police.”

[Illustration: 0171]

“The law, indeed!” said the Weasel; “and what right has the law to give
away land? But we will have no more words. We will lay the matter before
the Cat, and leave it to him.”

“Very well,” said the young Rabbit, and they went to find the Cat,--an
old, wise, and strong Cat.

“Come nearer, my children,” said the Cat, as they both began to talk at
the same time. “I am very deaf; nearer, for I wish to hear every word.”

They came close to the Cat, each talking loudly. But as soon as the Cat
had them within reach, he darted his claws out on each side, and held
them both fast. First he made way with the young Rabbit, next with the
Weasel; and then the house belonged to him.



THE TRAVELING MUSICIANS


I. HOW THEY SET OUT

|A Farmer had an Ass that had been a faithful servant to him a great
many years. But the Ass was growing old, and every day was more and more
unfit for work.

His master was tired of keeping him, and began to think of putting an
end to him. But the Ass saw there was mischief in the wind and took
himself off slyly. He set out toward the great city. “There,” thought
he, “people will like to hear me bray, and I shall earn my living as a
musician.”

He had traveled a little way when he spied a Dog by the wayside. The Dog
was lying down, and panting as if he were very tired.

“What makes you pant so, my friend?” asked the Ass.

“Alas!” said the Dog, “my master was about to knock me on the head. I am
old and weak, and can no longer hunt as I used. So I ran away. But how
can I earn a living?”

“Hark ye,” said the Ass; “I am going to the great city to be a musician;
suppose you go with me, and try what you can do in the same way.”

“Very well,” said the Dog, and they jogged on together.

They had not gone far before they saw a Cat sitting in the middle of the
road. The Cat wore a very sad face.

“Pray, my good lady,” said the Ass, “what is the matter with you? You
look quite out of sorts.”

“Ah me!” said the Cat, “well I may. How can I be in good spirits, when I
fear for my life? I am beginning to grow old, and I like to lie at my
ease by the fire, and not to run about the house after mice. So my
mistress laid hold of me, and was about to drown me. I was lucky enough
to get away from her. But what am I to live on?”

“Oh!” said the Ass, “come with us to the great city. You are a good
night-singer, and may make your fortune as a musician.”

“Well said,” said the Cat, and she joined the party.

On they went, until they came to a farm-yard. There they saw a Cock
perched upon the gate, and the Cock was crowing with all his might and
main.

“Bravo!” said the Ass; “upon my word you make a famous noise; pray, what
is all this about?”

“Why,” said the Cock, “I was just now saying that it was going to be
fine weather, when lo! the cook claps her hands to her ears, and says
she means to cut my head off, and make broth of me for the guests that
are coming to-morrow.”

“What a shame!” said the Ass. “But come with us, Master Cock. It will be
better than to stay here and have your head cut off. Besides, who knows?
If we take care to sing in tune, we may get up some kind of concert; so,
come along with us.”

“With all my heart,” said the Cock; and they all four went on their way.


II. HOW THEY GAVE A CONCERT

They could not reach the great city the first day. So, when night came
on, they went into the wood to sleep. The Ass and the Dog lay down under
a great tree; the Cat climbed up and sat on a branch; the Cock flew up
to the top of the tree, for that was a very safe place.

Before he went to sleep, he looked out on all sides to see if the world
were quiet. Afar off he saw something bright, and he called out to the
others:--

“There must be a house no great way off, for I see a light.”

“If that be the case,” said the Ass, “let us change our quarters, for
our lodging here is not the best in the world.”

“So say I,” said the Dog. “I should not be the worse for a bone or two,
or a bit of meat.” So off they all went to the spot where the Cock had
seen the light. As they drew near, it became larger and brighter, till
at last they came close to a house in which a gang of robbers lived.

The Ass was the tallest of the company, so he marched up to the window
and peeped in.

“Well, Ass,” said the Cock, “what do you see?”

“What do I see? Why, I see a table spread with all sorts of good things,
and men sitting round it, making merry.”

“That would be a fine place for us to live in,” said the Cock.

“Yes,” said the Ass, “if we only could get in.” So they all talked
the matter over, and at last hit upon a plan. The Ass stood on his
hind-legs, with his fore-feet resting on the window-sill; the Dog got
upon his back; the Cat scrambled up to the Dog’s shoulders; and the Cock
flew up and sat upon the Cat’s head.

[Illustration: 0176]

When all was ready, they began their music. The Ass brayed, the Dog
barked, the Cat mewed, and the Cock crowed; and then they all broke
through the window at once, and came tumbling into the room. The glass
fell with a smash upon the floor, and there was a great clatter.

The robbers started when they heard the music. They were scared out of
their wits when the Traveling Musicians came tumbling into the room. So
they took to their heels at once.


III. HOW THEY MADE THEMSELVES AT HOME

As soon as they were gone, the Traveling Musicians sat down at the
table. They ate all that the robbers had left, and as they were very
hungry, they ate very fast.

Then, when they had cleared the table, they put out the lights, and each
found a place in which to sleep. The Ass lay upon a heap of straw in
the yard; the Dog stretched himself upon a mat behind the door; the
Cat rolled herself up on the hearth before the warm ashes; and the Cock
perched upon a beam at the top of the house. They were all tired and
soon fell asleep.

After some time the robbers, who had not fled far, got over their
fright. They saw that the lights were out, and that all was quiet. They
began to think they had been frightened at nothing. One, bolder than the
rest, crept back to the house. All was still; all was dark.

He made his way into the kitchen, and groped about to find a candle. He
found the candle, and then went to the fire, as he thought, to light his
candle. But the live coals which he thought he saw were the two fiery
eyes of the Cat.

He held the candle close, to light it, but the Cat, not liking the joke,
sprang at his face, and spit, and scratched him. Away he ran to the
door. But there the Dog jumped up and bit him in the leg. As he was
crossing the yard, the Ass kicked him, and the Cock, now awake, crowed
with all his might.

At this the robber ran back to his comrades, as fast as his legs could
carry him. He told them that a horrid witch had got into the house, and
had spit at him, and scratched his face with long bony fingers. A man
with a knife in his hand hid behind the door, and stabbed him in the
leg. A black monster stood in the yard, and struck him with a club. And
the judge sat upon the top of the house, and cried out:--

“Throw the rascal up here!”

After this, the robbers never dared to go back to the house. The
Traveling Musicians were so pleased with their quarters, that they took
up their abode there, and there they are, I dare say, at this very day.



BELLING THE CAT

|There was a sly Cat in a house, and the Mice were so plagued with her
at every turn, that they called a council to plan a way by which they
might guard against being caught by her.

“If you will be ruled by me,” says one of the Mice, “there’s nothing
like hanging a bell about the Cat’s neck, to give warning when Puss is
coming.” They all thought that a capital plan.

“Well,” says another, “and now we are agreed upon the bell, say, who
shall hang it upon the Cat’s neck?” But there was no one ready to bell
the Cat.



THE WOLF AND THE CRANE

[Illustration: 0180]

|A Wolf once had a bone stuck in his throat, and offered to pay the
Crane well if she would thrust her long bill down and draw the bone out.

When she had done this, she asked for her pay. Then the Wolf laughed,
and showed his teeth, and said:--

“Is it not enough for you that you have had your head in a Wolf’s mouth,
and have drawn it out again safely? What more do you want?”



THE WOLF AND THE SHEPHERD

|A Wolf once walked behind a flock of Sheep, and did them no harm. At
first, the Shepherd treated him as an enemy, and kept watch against him.
But when the Wolf made no sign of hurting the Sheep, the Shepherd began
to think he was quite as good as a watch-dog.

So one day, when the Shepherd wished to go to the city, he left the
Sheep in the care of this quiet Wolf. That was the chance the Wolf
wanted, and he made sad havoc with the flock. When the Shepherd came
back and saw the Sheep scattered, he said:--

“It serves me right; for why did I trust Sheep to a Wolf?”



THE FROGS ASK FOR A KING

|In old times, the Frogs lived in a free and easy way, each one as he
pleased. But the elders among them did not like this, and begged Jove to
send them a king.

Jove thought them very foolish, and tossed a log into the middle of the
pond. The Frogs were scared out of their wits, and plunged at once into
the deepest hole. By and by, they peeped out and saw that King Log was
stock-still.

They began to grow bolder; soon they laughed at King Log. Then they
jumped up and sat on the log. That was not a king, they said, and off
they went to Jove, and asked him to give them a new king.

This time Jove gave them an Eel. But the Eel was stupid, and the Frogs
liked him no better. They sent a third time to Jove.

[Illustration: 0182]

At this Jove was angry, and sent them a king of another sort. He sent
them King Stork, and King Stork caught the Frogs, one by one, and ate
them, till there was not one left.





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